Lionel Messi: Barcelona forward to extend contract until 2018
Lionel Messi has agreed a new contract with Barcelona, keeping him at the Spanish club until 2018.The Argentina international, 25, has enjoyed a record-breaking year for club and country, scoring 90 goals in 2012.
Defender Carles Puyol, 34, and midfielder Xavi Hernandez, 32, have also agreed new deals that will keep them at Barcelona until 2016.”In the coming weeks Puyol, Xavi and Messi will sign their respective new contracts,” the club confirmed.
“This news means that FC Barcelona has secured its ties with three of its most important players.”Messi’s current deal expires in June 2016, with Puyol’s running until 2013 and Xavi until 2014.
Messi, who has been with Barcelona since he was 13, made his league debut against RCD Espanyol on 16 October 2004.
He has been in the best goal-scoring form of his career in 2012 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 took his tally for the year to 90 on Sunday with another two goals as Barcelona defeated Atletico Madrid 4-1.
He is in contention to be named World Player of the Year for a fourth time, having been named on a three-man shortlist alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and team-mate Andres Iniesta.