Messi signs new contract with Barcelona until 2018

MADRID Thu Feb 7, 2013 11:10pm IST

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after he scored a penalty against Valencia during their Spanish first division soccer match at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia, February 3, 2013. REUTERS/Heino Kalis

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates after he scored a penalty against Valencia during their Spanish first division soccer match at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia, February 3, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Heino Kalis

MADRID (Reuters) - 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.

The Argentina captain 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.

(Reporting by Mark Elkington, editing by Ed Osmond)

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