MADRID, March 18 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona announced on Tuesday that the club has reached agreement with young central defender, Marc Bartra to extend his contract into the end of June 2017.
The new contract raises Bartra's buyout clause to 25 million Euros and confirms the 23-year-old's progression to becoming a regular member of the first team squad.
Bartra joined Barcelona when he was just 11 years old and progressed through the ranks of the youth system, making his first team debut in the 2009-10 season, when he played at right back against Atletico Madrid.
He was finally promoted to the first team squad in the summer of 2012, although he found chances hard to come by and it was not until the current campaign that he has established himself as a regular player, making 14 appearances in the BBVA Primera Liga, two in the Champions League and five in the Copa del Rey, clocking up a total of 1,572 minutes football in the process.
He also made his debut for Spain in November 2013 in Spain's friendly match away to Equatorial Guinea.
"I'm very happy. It's a great feeling and I hope everything continues to go as well as they have done in my time at the Club so far," said Bartra in an interview on the official Barca website in which he highlighted the help he has received from Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique.
"Pique and Puyol are my reference points. It's a challenge to me to achieve what they have. Establishing myself in the team is a big test, but I am getting there," he said.
Barta's new deal is important given that Puyol will leave the club at the end of the current campaign after admitting he has struggled to overcome the knee injuries which have dogged him in recent campaigns. However, Barca will still almost certainly look to sign an experienced central defender ahead of the 2014-15 season.