Lionel Messi agrees new Barcelona deal

Argentina international extends deal until 2018

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The Independent Football

Lionel Messi has agreed a new contract to remain at Barcelona until 2018.

The Argentinian international will put pen to paper on the deal "in the coming weeks" according to his club.

The Catalans have also announced that Spanish duo Xavi and Carles Puyol had agreed extensions until 2016.

The new contract for Messi means the world's greatest player will remain at the Nou Camp beyond his 31st birthday - leading to an assumption that he will see out his career at the Spanish club.

The forward has enjoyed an incredible year, even by his own standards, surpassing a 40-year-old landmark of 85 goals in a calendar year set by Gerd Muller.

While every club in the world would want to buy Messi, there has never been any talk of the 25-year-old exiting Barcelona, with the three-time Ballon d'Or winner showing refreshing loyalty to his club.

Details of the contracts for the three players have not been revealed, but board spokesman Toni Freixa said "some had been improved and others not".

He added to reporters: "This is extraordinary news that Barca are celebrating."