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Rediff.com  » Sports » Barca's Andres Iniesta agrees three-year contract extension

Barca's Andres Iniesta agrees three-year contract extension

December 19, 2013 22:30 IST

Barcelona's Spain playmaker Andres Iniesta has agreed a three-year contract extension with the La Liga champions until 2018 when he turns 34, club president Sandro Rosell said on Thursday.

Andres IniestaThe contract includes an option for further extensions on an annual basis depending on how often Iniesta plays, Rosell told a news conference.

"We are very, very happy," Rosell said. "I think this is a great Christmas gift for all Barcelona fans."

A product of Barca's academy, Iniesta joined the club in September 1996 at the age of 12, made his first-team debut in a Champions League game in October 2002 and has gone on to help the Catalans win 21 trophies.

One of the greatest moments of his club career came in the Champions League semi-finals in 2009 when he scored a dramatic late goal at Chelsea that sent Barca through to the final.

He is a hero to Spaniards after netting the extra-time winner against Netherlands in South Africa in 2010 that secured the Iberian nation's first World Cup.

Atletico flop likely to end Ronaldinho's World Cup dream

Meanwhile, Ronaldinho's hopes that a good performance at the Club World Cup might earn a Brazil recall have been dashed by Atletico Mineiro's shock elimination at the hands of Raja Casablanca.

The ever-grinning former World Player of the Year gave two tantalising glimpses of his unique talent before drowning in a sea of mediocrity in Wednesday's match.

He scored Atletico's only goal in the 3-1 defeat with an exquisite free kick and, buoyed by that, cheekily flicked the ball over an opponent to send the Brazilian fans into raptures.

For most of the game, however, Ronaldinho, 33, looked off the pace and ponderous as the ageing South American champions were upstaged by a team of run-of-the-mill Moroccan league players. The low point was when he tried to pass a defender with a cheeky dribble on the byline and was easily dispossessed.

Ronaldinho won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002, was part of the team which went out in the quarter-finals amid high expectations in 2006 and was omitted altogether by coach Dunga in 2010 in South Africa.