Among The World's Best
Baines one of the game's top players, says boss.
Everton have secured the signature of one of the world's best players in left-back Leighton Baines.
That's the opinion of manager Roberto Martinez, who announced the defender had penned a new long-term contract with the Blues on Monday morning.
The confirmation followed weeks of speculation that Baines was set to extend his stay at Goodison Park and Martinez sees tying down the 29-year-old as a landmark moment for the Club.
Speaking to evertontv, the Spaniard said: "You're talking in January about addressing your squad and being as strong as you can be. To have Leighton's signature on this new contract, it means a lot.
"It gives you the security and the focus of a player that, in my eyes, is one of the best in the world and what it represents to the fans, what it represents to the Club, is quite unique.
"If you're looking at the player, he's in the best moment of his career, the best years are ahead of him and to have the security of having those years is an incredible boost to our project.
"He, in my eyes, is as good a left-back as you're going to get in world football, he's got a real maturity, a real know-how and he's ready to take responsibilities in the team.
"This is a really, really significant moment for us."
Media speculation had also linked Baines with a move away from Everton in recent times but Martinez insists he was always hopeful of holding on to one of his most important assets.
"I was confident because the signs were always positive and Leighton is not the sort of footballer who gets distracted by whatever comes his way," he added. "He's a deep thinker and he has very strong values.
"He wants to be the best he can be and, as you would imagine, he wants to participate in the best competitions in world football. But I do believe that he feels he can do that with Everton and that, for me, is an incredible gesture in the modern game."
Don't miss your next chance to see Baines and Co in action at Goodison Park. Tickets for Saturday's game against Aston Villa (kick off 3pm) are still available. To buy, click here or call 0871 663 1878.
Alternatively, visit the Park End Box Office at Goodison Park, Everton Two in Liverpool One or TicketQuarter in Queen Square.