United States youth international Konrad de la Fuente has signed a new contract with Barcelona, committing his future to the Spanish champions until 2022.
De la Fuente’s new terms include a €50 million release clause that will rise to €100m if he is promoted to the first team before the expiration of the deal.
He will form part of the club’s B team next season, who are playing in the third tier of Spanish football but could be promoted to the second division later this summer.
They are preparing for the playoffs, which take place in July across several locations in the south of Spain. De la Fuente, who started the season with the under-19s, is already part of the squad.
Barca had to work hard to convince the young winger to stay at Camp Nou after a number of clubs showed an interest in him with his contract set to expire this summer.
De la Fuente, 18, looked set to move to German side Hertha Berlin in December, but Barca managed to persuade him that he would get chances to progress at the Catalan club.
The Miami native moved to Barcelona with his parents when he was 10 and was incorporated into Barca’s La Masia academy in 2014.
He has since progressed through the youth teams and has already made five appearances for the B team. He scored the winning goal in February in a 2-1 win against AE Prat.
His development has seen him called up to train with the first team on occasions, where he has brushed shoulders with six-time world player of the year Lionel Messi.
“It’s not that I’m used to [seeing Messi now] but I still get a little starstruck [when I see him],” De la Fuente told ESPN in April.
“The first time I trained with the first team, I got into the locker room and I turned to go into it and run into someone. And I looked and I see it’s Messi.
“I said, ‘Hi,’ and shook his hand and everything. And then as I walked past him I said, ‘Oh my God, I just [ran into] Messi.’ But there was just that moment and that’s it. And then it was just normal.”
De la Fuente has represented the U.S. youth teams since under-16 level. He was part of the side that reached the quarterfinals of the U20 World Cup in 2019, beating France in the round of 16 before losing to Ecuador.
He has set his sights on not only making the senior squad in the future, but forming part of a generation that can lead the country to World Cup success.
“My goal with the national team is to win a World Cup,” he said in April. “That’s my personal goal. Everyone has their own, and for me, it’s to win a World Cup.
“I definitely think it can happen. If we continue to grow in our clubs in Europe, I think we can do something special.”