Inks the deal ahead of the midday kick-off against Getafe on Sunday
World Player of the Year Lionel Messi has signed a new contract with Barcelona which ties him until June 30 2018, the Spanish league leaders said on Thursday.
The 25-year-old penned a deal agreed in December, which includes a two-year extension on his previous agreement and secures his services until he is 31.
He joined Barcelona’s youth academy as a 13-year-old and made his first-team debut at 16.
Messi is Barca’s leading scorer of all time, he has been the top scorer in the Champions League for the last four years and racked up a calendar year record 91 goals for club and country in 2012.
A first for Barca
Meanwhile, Barcelona full-back Jordi Alba doesn’t believe the combination of Spain’s long journey to and from Qatar in midweek and an early kick-off against Getafe on Sunday should unduly affect the Catalans.
Sunday’s fixture will be the first time Barca have played at the 12 o’clock (1630 IST) kickoff time since it was introduced by the league at the beginning of last season.
But Alba doesn’t believe that should be used as any excuse should the league leaders fail to extend their nine-point lead over Atletico Madrid.
Atletico Madrid meanwhile continue their pursuit of the Catalans in a Madrid derby away at Rayo Vallecano in Sunday’s late game.
Real Madrid face Sevilla on Saturday.Agencies