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Controversy as Real enter Pogba race

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Barca to confirm new deal for Messi

Lionel Messi is to sign his new contract extension with Barcelona on Thursday, which will see him commit to the club up until June 2018.

The news that Messi, 25, had agreed a two-year extension was first announced last December, and the time and date for the signing ceremony were revealed on Tuesday.

• Tomas: Barca re-sign best footballer in history

"Leo Messi will become the latest player to extend his time at Barca," a statement on the club's official website read. "Recent weeks have already seen extensions agreed for captains Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez.

"On Thursday, the striker, who is currently in Sweden with the Argentina national team, will sign a renewed contract that binds him to FC Barcelona until June 30, 2018. The venue will be the club offices, and the time will be 16.30."

The new deals signed recently by Xavi and Puyol tie both players to Barca until 2016, while Messi will now be contracted to the club past his 31st birthday.

Messi will this week represent Argentina against former Blaugrana colleague Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with both players now captains of their international sides.

Xavi is currently sidelined with a hamstring tear picked up in Sunday's 1-1 La Liga draw at Valencia, which saw him withdraw from Spain's squad for their friendly with Uruguay in Qatar on Wednesday. Puyol looks set to win his 100th international cap for La Roja in that game.

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