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Lionel Messi Renews FC Barcelona Contract Through 2018

Photographer: Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring a goal against Atletico de Madrid in Barcelona on Dec. 16, 2012. Close

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring a goal against Atletico de Madrid in... Read More

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Photographer: Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring a goal against Atletico de Madrid in Barcelona on Dec. 16, 2012.

Lionel Messi, who broke soccer’s calendar-year scoring record earlier this month, agreed to extend his contract with Barcelona by two years through June 2018.

Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez will lengthen their deals through June 2016, Barcelona said in a statement on its website.

“This news means that FC Barcelona has secured its ties with three of its most important players,” the 21-time Spanish league champion club said.

Messi, 25, scored twice against Real Betis on Dec. 9 to overtake Gerd Muller’s record 85 goals in 1972. The Argentina captain’s 2012 tally now stands at 90.

He’s also in the running to be named the world’s best player for a fourth consecutive year. He’s short-listed for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award with teammate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barca currently leads the Spanish standings by nine points from Atletico Madrid as it strives to regain the title. Holder Real Madrid is four points further back.

“Over the course of the next few weeks, Carles Puyol, Xavi Hernandez and Leo Messi will all be signing their respective new contracts,” Barcelona said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Danielle Rossingh at the London sports desk at 3628 or drossingh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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