Lionel Messi signs Barcelona deal to 2018

The World Player of the Year has formally signed a new contract

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The Independent Football

The World Player of the Year Lionel Messi has signed a new contract with Barcelona which ties him to them until the end of the 2017-18 season.

The 25-year-old penned a deal agreed in December, which includes a two-year extension and secures his services until he is 31.

Messi, the Argentina captain, who is Barça's leading scorer of all time, joined Barcelona's youth academy as a 13-year-old and made his first-team debut at 16.

The club's defender Jordi Alba said: "It's great news for Barça fans that he's staying. He is the best player in the world and as long as nothing happens, he'll be the best ever. We'll try to make him feel as comfortable here as we can."