By Chuck Schilken
8:46 AM PST, December 18, 2012
Lionel Messi will score at least 540 more goals and be named world soccer player of the year seven more times before his time with Barcelona comes to an end.
Well, that's what will happen if he sticks to this year's record pace of 90 goals (and counting) and continues his streak of three -- undoubtedly soon to be an unprecedented four -- straight player-of-the year awards while playing out his newly extended contract with the Spanish powerhouse.
Messi, 25, agreed to a new contract with Barcelona on Tuesday that will lasts until June 30, 2018, the club said in a statement. His previous contract was due to expire on June 30, 2016.
Xavi Hernandez and Carles Puyol also agreed to new deals with the team, which said all three contracts would be signed "over the course of the next few weeks."
Messi was 13 when he started playing for Barcelona's youth squad. He played his first match for the senior squad at 16.
He has since become a worldwide phenomenon, sparking debates on whether someone who has never won a World Cup can be considered the best soccer player ever.
There's no doubt that Messi should be considered among the best players right now. Not only did he did he break Gerd Mueller's 40-year-old record of 85 goals in a calendar year, Messi has netted a double in each of his last six games and has 22 this year.
No word on just what Barcelona will be paying to keep his services for the extra two years, but it's pretty safe to say he's worth every penny.
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