Argentinean striker Lionel Messi has dashed any hopes that he may make a move to the Premier League, signing a contract with Barcelona that ensures his position with the club until 2018.
Many were hoping that Messi, who is being branded the best footballer in history after breaking the record for most goals scored in a calendar year, would opt for a change of pace after spending over 10 years with the Spanish club, but at 25 years old, this new contract will arguably span the prime of his professional career.
Messi, who is in contention to pick up his fourth Ballon d'Or award in a row, has scored an historic 90 goals this season, netting his last two on Sunday with a 4-1 victory over Atletico Madrid.
He has surpassed the previous 40-year-record of Gerd Mueller, who scored 85 for Bayern Munich and West Germany back in 1972. After Messi broke his record, Mueller branded him the "best player in the world", before saying: "I'm delighted for him. He is an incredible player, gigantic".
Barcelona have also extended the contracts of Xavi Hernandez and Carles Puyol, agreeing upon a new deal which will see both of them stay with the La Liga leaders until at least 2016.
The club confirmed their renewal of the players' contracts, saying: "In the coming weeks Puyol, Xavi and Messi will sign their respective new contract. This news means that FC Barcelona has secured its ties with three of its most important players."
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