Barcelona trio agree new long-term deals

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Lionel Messi, Carles Puyol and Xavi have agreed new long-term deals with Barcelona, it has been announced.

Xavi and Puyol will sign new contracts that will extend their stay at the Nou Camp until 2016 and most likely until the end of their careers, while Messi has extended his contract until 2018.

A statement from Barcelona read: Carles Puyol, who had a contract ending June 30, 2013, is expanding his relationship with the club until June 30, 2016.

"Xavi Hernandez, who had a contract ending June 30, 2014 with renewal clauses, has a contract that will finish on June 30, 2016.

"Leo Messi, who had a contract ending June 30, 2016, is expanding his relationship with the club until June 30, 2018.

"Thus Barcelona strengthens its ties with three key players. In the coming weeks and individually, Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez and Leo Messi will sign their new contracts."

All three players made their way through Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy before forming the core, alongside fellow academy graduate Andres Iniesta, of the most successful Barcelona side in history.

Under the guidance of former boss Pep Guardiola the trio helped the Catalan club win three successive league titles and two Champions League trophies, while they already look capable of winning their La Liga crown back from Real Madrid after opening a 13 point gap over their rivals on Sunday.

Puyol made his debut for Barcelona in 1999 and has since gone on to make over 550 appearances for the Blaugrana, the second highest figure in the club’s history only behind Xavi, who has won six league titles in his time at the Nou Camp.

Messi has proved him worth as one of the greatest players of all time despite being only 25-years-old, and has broken two major goal scoring records in 2012.

The Argentinian beat the record for most goals in a single European season after bagging 73 strikes during the 2011/12 campaign, while he recently passed Gerd Muller’s record for most goals in a calendar year.

Messi’s tally currently stands at 90 for the year, with one game still to go.

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