Barcelona have persuaded key defender Carles Puyol to sign a long-term contract extension.

The agreement between the Catalan club and the Spanish international ends three months of wrangling which had prompted fears among fans that Puyol might follow Luis Figo off to Real Madrid.

Details of the value of Puyol’s contract have yet to emerge but it is believed to be for a further five years and place of a buy-out value of œ30million on the defender.

Puyol is particularly popular with the Barcelona fans as one of the few remaining home-grown Catalans in the squad under coach Louis Van Gaal.

After five rounds, Barcelona have a 100 per cent record in the first group phase of the Champions League but are a disappointingly erratic eighth in the Spanish championship and have already been knocked out of the Spanish cup.
By Keir Radnedge