Messi's contract to 2016 is above board, say Barça

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The Independent Football

Barcelona have responded to FIFPro's suggestion that Lionel Messi's contract extension does not comply with Fifa rules, insisting everything was done by the book.

The 22-year-old signed a new deal last month to keep him at the Nou Camp until 2016, but the president of the worldwide players' union, Philippe Piat, claimed yesterday that the contract should have been limited to a maximum length of five years.

However, a Barça statement yesterday read: "FC Barcelona announces that, as of today, it has received nothing and knows nothing of a complaint against us from FifPro, Fifa or any other body in relation to the renewal of the contract of the player, Leo Messi.

"However, FC Barcelona wants to clarify that in any case, the renewal of that player contract was carried out in full compliance with state labour laws and, of course, under current Fifa rules which state that, under article 18.2 of the regulations on the status and transfer of players, employment contracts can last more than five years provided that, as in this case, state law permits it.

"The contract that joins Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona strictly observes the laws and regulations in force and in particular the provisions that are applicable in relation to the length of contract and unilateral termination clause."

Meanwhile, Real Madrid midfielder Guti is desperate to be fit for Wednesday's Champions League match against Milan after suffering an ankle injury in training.

The 32-year-old is a major doubt for Saturday's La Liga match at home to Real Valladolid after spraining his left ankle but is keen to be back for the Rossoneri's visit to the Bernabeu.

He told Marca: "I hope I'm OK for the match against Valladolid and, if not, what I do not want to miss is the clash against Milan."

German defender Christoph Metzelder is expected to be out for 10 days after he too had to leave training early on Tuesday with a sprained right ankle.