Forgot Password

 

Register

 

Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications




or
Login using
x

Email Reset

 




Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Spain

Lionel Messi © Reuters Images

Messi, Xavi, Puyol extend Barca stay



Barcelona secured the futures of leading players Lionel Messi, Xavi and Carles Puyol with renewed contracts on Tuesday.

World Player of the Year Messi's deal has been extended by two years to June 30, 2018, which ties him until he is 31, the La Liga leaders said in a statement.

The 34-year-old Puyol, the club's captain, has agreed a three-year extension to June 30, 2016, which would effectively see the Spanish international through to the end of his playing career at 38.

Xavi's existing deal ran until June 2016 depending on appearances but the 32-year-old midfielder's new contract would now end then regardless of the number of times he played, Barca added.

The new contracts will be signed in the coming weeks.

"It is with great satisfaction that the board are able to bring continuity to this successful project with the renewed deals for Xavi, Puyol and Messi," Barcelona director Toni Freixa told a news conference.

"Puyol, Messi and Xavi are three basic pillars. It was essential to have our principal figures tied to the club.

"The buy-out clauses remain the same until there is a financial improvement."

Offering Messi a further two years indicates how important the Argentine is to the club and ensures they secure his services over the peak of his playing career, injury permitting.

At 25, Messi has already set a number of club scoring records and is favourite to win a fourth World Player of the Year award next month.

He has been the top scorer in the world's highest-profile club competition, the Champions League, for four years in a row, and hit the headlines recently as he racked up his 90th goal in 2012 for club and country.

'THE FLEA'

Barca built their team around the fleet-footed forward over four trophy-filled seasons under coach Pep Guardiola until he stepped aside last May, and the transition to former No 2 Tito Vilanova has failed to upset the 'the flea's' rhythm.

Messi has already scored 25 goals in 16 La Liga games this season, the latest being a double against second-placed Atletico Madrid in a 4-1 victory on Sunday which left Barca clear at the top, and 13 points ahead of their great title rivals Real Madrid.

Puyol has been a central figure at the heart of the Barca defence for more than a decade, famous for his commitment and aggression. His return after a string of injuries has settled a backline that looked distinctly shaky earlier in the campaign.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Puyol said: "I want to play until I am 40. I want to continue playing...but when it doesn't feel right I will stop whether I have a contract in place or not."

Like Puyol and Messi, playmaker Xavi is a product of the club's acclaimed youth academy, and has pulled the strings in midfield for more than a decade.

With Cesc Fabregas settling into the side more, and the talented Thiago Alcantara emerging, Spanish international Xavi has increased competition for his place but remains a vital part of Vilanova's plans.

Shop

Gerrard: My Autobiography
Steven Gerrard is a hero to millions, not only as the inspirational captain of Liverpool FC, but as a key member of the England team.
R152.00
Rafa: My Story
Revelatory memoir from the greatest sportsman in the world today.
R182.00
FIFA 14
Xbox 360
R549.00
Mitre Ultimatch Soccer Ball - White
A high quality football, offering high performance at both training and during football matches.
R252.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Live Video Streaming

Wed, 16 Apr @ 05:00
Thu, 17 Apr @ 01:50
Thu, 17 Apr @ 08:00

Latest Video Highlights

Sports Talk



Iwedi Ojinmah
For Nigeria the noise will come
One just has to look at a map of Africa and South America to understand the special relationship...

Neil Tovey
Climbing the pyramid of success
The fact that an Al Ahly official said the club “have started negotiations with Oupa Manyisa”...

Segun Odegbami
Tradition and history against Africa
It is eight weeks to the start of the 2014 World Cup and predictions are being made on who will...

Carol Radull
Respect your coaches please
I’m a little sick in the pit of my stomach over how Kenyan Premier Clubs are treating their coaches.

Calvin Emeka Onwuka
Liverpool staying the course
In an incredible atmosphere at Anfield, Liverpool kept up their relentless pursuit of Liverpool’s...

Chima Emmanuel Aguma
Give David Moyes a chance, would you?
All season long the name David Moyes has been on the lips of every football spectator and...