After securing the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Xabi and Ronaldinho on new long-term deals, Barcelona have agreed a contract extension with captain Carlos Puyol that will keep him at the club until 2010.

The agreement – which became binding only last week – concludes a protracted round of negotiations that initially started over the summer, although there has never been any indication that the 27-year-old wished to leave the Camp Nou.

The shaggy-haired centre back made his first team debut six years ago, when then manager Louis Van Gaal promoted him from the youth academy. Since then, he has become a firm favourite in Catalonia, and guided the club to the La Liga championship last season.