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By ESPN Staff

Barcelona extend Zubizarreta deal

Barcelona have taken up the option of an automatic renewal on the contract of sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta for a further two seasons until summer 2013.

The existing deal stipulated that the Primera Division champions could opt to prolong the 49-year-olds's deal at any time before June 15, 2011.

Zubizarreta, who took over from Txiki Begiristain in the role last July, was delighted to commit his future to the club and is now looking forward to the challenges ahead.

"It's not easy to make a valuation of a new contract extension when it is for you yourself," Zubizarreta told Barcelona's official website. "I have been very lucky to have been here since last July doing the job that Txiki did.

"I'm thrilled to be here and happy with what the future holds, knowing that the challenge is demanding, but very attractive.

"In professional football, the aim has to be to remain competitive, stay loyal to our style and evolve our way of playing, giving the professional teams all the resources they need.''

Barca moved a step closer to retaining the league title on Saturday with a 1-1 draw at Real Madrid to remain eight points clear of their arch rivals with six games remaining.

Spain's top two teams meet again on Wednesday in the Copa del Rey final at the Mestalla before their two-legged Champions League semi-final.

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