MELBOURNE has secured its most prized signature yet, with superstar midfielder Christian Petracca agreeing to a mammoth seven-year deal.
The Demons officially announced the re-signing of Petracca on Wednesday, securing the Brownlow Medal favourite's future with the club until at least the end of the 2029 season.
It takes Petracca out of the free agency picture next year and follows reports strongly linking the supremely talented 25-year-old with a potential future move to Collingwood.
"Christian will now be a Melbourne player for life and our members and supporters can look forward to cheering him on through what we are sure will be the best years of his career," the club's list boss, Tim Lamb, said.
"Over the past couple of seasons, Christian has established himself as one of the competition's elite players and we are confident his best is still to come.
"To turn his back on free agency, and what would have undoubtedly been significant offers from other clubs, is a testament to his character and shows how much he loves this club, his teammates, coaches and the environment we have worked so hard to create.
"It is an exciting time to be a part of the club and Christian has been unwavering in his commitment to being part of the journey we are on.
"He is focused on helping lead us to where we want to get to, and we can’t wait to see what he can produce in the red and blue for many more years to come."
Petracca's new deal will ensure he remains at Melbourne until the age of 33 and follows the club's other high-profile re-signings of Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney, Max Gawn and Christian Salem from earlier this year.
It's just reward following a career-best season last year that was reflected in All-Australian honours and his first ever club best and fairest, as well as a strong start to the 2021 campaign where he is averaging 29 disposals and 1.1 goals per game.
Coach Simon Goodwin expects his star on-baller to continue to take his game to new heights, and is thrilled to add Petracca to the list of other core re-signings.
"The way he prepares himself, the way he comes to training, every day he's about [improvement]. It's about mastery, it's about the willingness to continue to improve and seek out small gains in your game. He does that to a really high level," Goodwin said.
"We see that with the greats of our game. Dustin Martin, each year, you see him continually getting better and Christian is no different to that, he's not a finished product by any stretch of the imagination.
"There's an enormous connection within our playing group, and there's a core group of players that have all re-signed and they're all key pillars within our footy club, not only now but moving forward.
"They want to build success together and they want to do it over a long period of time. I think it's a great show of faith they all want to stay together."