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Pep Guardiola agrees to extend Barcelona contract

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola
Guardiola has won back-to-back La Liga titles with Barca

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has agreed to extend his contract with the club until the end of next season.

Guardiola's current deal was due to expire at the end of this campaign, and the Catalan giants have moved to prolong his thus-far successful reign.

"The signing will take place in the next few days," the club said.

The 40-year-old has won eight trophies, including successive La Liga titles and the 2009 Champions League, since replacing Frank Rijkaard in 2008.

Barca are currently seven points clear at the top of the table, and on Sunday, they became the first to win 16 La Liga games in a row with a 3-0 victory over Atletico Madrid.

Guardiola will resume his push to win European football's top prize for a second time as a coach when his free-flowing side face Arsenal in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League clash at the Emirates on 16 February.

Having impressed as Barcelona's B team coach, Guardiola was appointed first-team boss at the Nou Camp at the end of a trophy-less 2007-2008 season.

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The former Spanish international midfielder had emerged from Barca's youth system to win six league titles and one European Cup as a player with the Catalans.

He resumed that trophy-haul in his first season in charge, steering his side to the Primera Division, Copa del Rey and Champions League.

He added the Uefa Super Cup, Fifa Club World Cup and the Spanish Super Cup to the trophy cabinet before the end of 2009.

And last year Barcelona successfully defended their domestic league - with a record-breaking 99 points - and Super Cup titles.

Fierce rivals Real Madrid, with former Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho at the helm, trail Barcelona by seven points with the same number of games played.

Sunday's historic triumph, when World Footballer of the Year Lionel Messi netted all three goals, surpassed Real's 50-year-old record of 15 league wins in succession.

Speaking after that game, Guardiola said: "We wouldn't be what we are without Messi. Without him we would be a good team, but he makes the difference."

Meanwhile, Barcelona will drop the UNICEF logo that appears on the front of their shirts from July and replace it with the name of their new Qatari sponsor.

Barca are one of the few clubs in the world not to have a corporate logo on their jerseys, instead displaying the name of the United Nations Children's Fund, for which they pay the organisation 1.5 million euros (£1.27m) a year.

However, they last month agreed a record five-year sponsorship deal with Qatar Sports Investment worth 30m euros (£26m) a season.

"It has been decided that the Qatar Foundation logo will go on the front of the shirt, on the breast," Barca vice president Javier Faus revealed. "UNICEF will go on the back underneath the player's name."

Faus, though, said it was not clear whether the UNICEF logo would be allowed to appear on shirts worn in the Champions League.

"What we can guarantee is that every FC Barcelona shirt that is sold around the world will have the UNICEF logo on the back," he added.



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see also
Messi stars in Barca record win
06 Feb 11 |  Europe
Messi wins Fifa Ballon d'Or award
10 Jan 11 |  Football
Messi & Ronaldo set for Emirates
21 Dec 10 |  Football
Arsenal drawn against Barcelona
17 Dec 10 |  Europe
Barcelona agree record shirt deal
10 Dec 10 |  Europe


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