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Barca president Laporta hails Pedri deal as 'happiest' day

BARCELONA : Barcelona president Joan Laporta said it was the happiest day of his second term in office when midfielder Pedri signed a new deal on Friday.

The 18-year-old Pedri's new contract runs through 2026 and has a 1 billion euro (US$1.16 billion) buy-out clause - the highest in the club's history.

The teenager was a key player for Barca as they won the Copa del Rey last season and starred for Spain in their run to the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

"I'd say it's the happiest day since I've taken up the presidency," Laporta told a news conference.

"I was very happy too, of course, when we won the Copa last season but this is an historic day and one of those that makes being Barca president worthwhile.

"The clause is 1 billion euros, as it says in the contract, but Pedri is worth much more than that."

The Catalan also hit back at criticism from predecessor Josep Maria Bartomeu, who earlier on Friday told several Spanish media outlets that his handling of the club had been "serious and responsible", not dire as the current board have said.

"I won't distract myself by answering questions about a desperate person who's now realising the magnitude of the disaster he's responsible for," he said.

"At the end of the day, the president is ultimately responsible for everything."

Barca, who are ninth in the table after a mixed start to the season, face Valencia in LaLiga on Sunday, however Pedri will miss the clash with a thigh injury.

Ronald Koeman's side, who are bottom of their Champions League group after opening with two defeats, then face a crucial European clash with Dynamo Kyiv before hosting Real Madrid in a first El Clasico meeting of the season.

(US$1 = 0.8622 euros)

(Reporting by Joseph Walker; Editing by Toby Davis)

Source: Reuters

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