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Lionel Messi signs a two-year contract extension

2013-02-07 19:08:10

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi has signed a two-year contract extension with Barcelona which will tie him to the Spanish club until June 2018.

The Argentina international, 25, enjoyed a record-breaking year for club and country, scoring 91 goals in 2012.

Messi signed a new deal on Thursday afternoon and follows Carles Puyol and Xavi, who both signed their extensions last month.

Defender Puyol and midfielder Xavi agreed new deals until 2016.

A on the Barcelona website said: "This afternoon Leo Messi extended his contract with FC Barcelona through June 30 of 2018.

"The signing ceremony was attended by the player, president Sandro Rosell, vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the director of football Andoni Zubizarreta.

"Messi added two additional years to his existing contract, which was set to expire in June of 2016.

"The player, who joined the club when he was 13 years old and made his first-team debut three years later, will be 31 when his contract expires."

Barcelona are top of La Liga with a nine-point cushion over nearest rivals Atletico Madrid. They are away to AC Milan in the last 16 of the Champions League on 20 February.

Messi has been in the best goal-scoring form of his career and surpassed Gerd Mueller's 40-year-old record of 85 goals scored in a calendar year with a brace in a 2-1 win over Real Betis on 9 December.

Messi had agreed the contract at the end of last year but has only just signed it.

He has scored eight times in Barcelona's first five La Liga matches of the calendar year, including four against Osasuna in a 5-1 win on 27 January.

Last month he was awarded the Ballon d'Or for a fourth year running ahead of Barcelona team-mate Andres Iniesta and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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