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SBD Global/December 19, 2012/International Football

FC Barcelona Plan To Re-Sign Messi, Puyol, Xavi In Coming Weeks

Barcelona is expected to extend Lionel Messi's contract through 2018.
FC Barcelona will re-sign Lionel Messi, Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez to respective new contracts in the coming weeks. Messi had a contract with the club until June 30, 2016, which has now been extended until June 30, 2018. Carles Puyol’s contract expires on June 30, 2013, but he will now be staying at the club until June 30, 2016. Xavi Hernandez’s contract with the club ends on June 30, 2014 but it includes conditions for renewal, which are to be exercised until June 30, 2016 (FC Barcelona). In London, Gratton & Smith noted "it is believed" Messi's new deal will see him earn £250,000 ($405,200) a week, "reflecting his status as the leading player in the world" (LONDON TIMES, 12/18). In Barcelona, Javier Giraldo reported Barcelona spokesperson Toni Freixa revealed the news. Freixa said the club "renewed the three main pillars of the best Barça ever. It is extraordinary news that all Barcelona fans are celebrating." Freixa did not get into details of the new contracts (SPORT, 12/18). BLOOMBERG's Danielle Rossingh noted Messi is "also in running to be named the world’s best player for a fourth consecutive year." He is short-listed for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award with teammate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (BLOOMBERG, 12/18).

TOP FORM: The BBC wrote Messi has been in the "best goal-scoring form of his career" in '12 and surpassed Gerd Müller'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 Dec. 9. Messi took his goal scoring total for the year to 90 on Sunday with another two goals as Barcelona defeated Atletico Madrid 4-1. Xavi is the "longest-serving Barcelona player of the three," having made his debut in '98. He holds the record for the most appearances with the club with 651 (BBC, 12/18).
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