Madrid: Barcelona's Argentina international Javier Mascherano has agreed to extend his contract with the La Liga team by two years till the end of June 2016, the club said on Thursday.
The versatile 28-year-old, who former Barca coach Pep Guardiola converted into a highly effective centre back from a midfielder after he joined from Liverpool in 2010, will sign his new deal in the coming weeks, the club said in a statement on their website www.fcbarcelona.com.
"Mascherano has become a key player for us," his compatriot and team mate Lionel Messi said.
"Since Guardiola played him in central defence I don't think he has had a bad game," the World Player of the Year added.
Known in Spanish as "El Jefecito" (The Little Boss), Mascherano has played 97 matches for Barcelona, helping them win six trophies - the Champions League, La Liga, the King's Cup, the Spanish and European Super Cups and the Club World Cup.
Mascherano joined Barca for a fee of about 20 million euros according to media reports and the Catalan club said his new contract includes a buyout clause of 100 million euros, up from 90 million.