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Messi signs new Barcelona deal

ESPN staff
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As expected, Lionel Messi has signed his new contract extension with Barcelona - committing himself to the club up until June 2018.

Messi, 25, agreed the two-year extension in December, and put pen to paper on Thursday at the Camp Nou office of Barca president Sandro Rosell.

This is the Argentina international's sixth renovation in eight years. AS reported on Thursday that the terms of the extended deal do not vary greatly from those last agreed in September 2009, and Messi will continue to earn approximately €11 million a year after tax. The buy-out clause remains €250 million.

The news was confirmed via a statement issued by Barcelona's official website on Thursday.

"This afternoon Leo Messi extended his contract with FC Barcelona through June 30 of 2018," the statement said. "The signing ceremony was attended by the player, president Sandro Rosell, vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu and 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."

The new deal for Messi follows similar extensions signed recently by Xavi Hernandez and Carles Puyol, which commit both players to the Catalan club until 2016, although long-serving goalkeeper Victor Valdes appears to have decided to leave the club when his contract ends in June 2014.

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