Sergi Roberto has his sights set on earning a place in Spain’s World Cup squad this summer after putting pen to paper on his new contract with Barcelona.
The versatile 26-year-old had offers to leave the Nou Camp but last month committed his future to Barca by agreeing a deal that ties him to the club until June 2022.
Roberto signed that contract on Thursday and the Catalan-born player insisted that, despite reported interest from the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United, his heart was always set on staying with Barca.
He said in quotes reported by the Spanish press: “Since renewal talks began I always wanted to be here. It’s the club of my life and I’ve been a fan since I was small.
“It’s true that other clubs were interested, but I wanted to be here and I’m happy to have renewed until 2022. If I can continue even longer, then so much the better.
“I hope it’s not the last contract I sign. My desire is to retire here and hopefully I can follow in the footsteps of Andres Iniesta and Leo Messi.”
Roberto, whose buy-out clause now stands at 500million euros (£440m), has made 34 appearances for Barca this season and helped put them in contention to win the Champions League, LaLiga and Copa del Rey.
He also hopes that regular appearances for Barca will help him realise an ambition of going to the World Cup with Julen Lopetegui’s Spain squad.
“To play in the World Cup with Spain would be a dream. I’ve already played in an Under-17s World Cup and another at under-20. Any player would want to go to a World Cup,” said Roberto, who has won two of his three Spain caps under Lopetegui.
“I’m close because I’ve been called up to several squads and I hope Julen Lopetegui gives me the opportunity to be at the World Cup. At the very least, I am going to work hard for it.”