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Soccer-Atletico midfielder Garcia agrees contract extension

Reuters

By Iain Rogers

MADRID, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid have rewarded in-form midfielder Raul Garcia with a three-year contract extension to the end of June 2018, the club said on Monday.

Garcia, 27, has got 14 goals this term in all competitions, helping keep Atletico's La Liga challenge alive with several standout performances and propelling them to the King's Cup semi-finals, where they went out to Real Madrid last week.

He has scored three times in the Champions League, with Atletico facing a last 16, first leg tie at AC Milan on Wednesday in Europe's elite club competition.

"Now all we have to do is keep working to achieve our goals with the group," Garcia said on Atletico's website (www.clubatleticodemadrid.com).

"Things are going very well and we are working to keep it going for a long time," he added.

Strong in the air and blessed with a fierce shot, Garcia is a product of the Osasuna youth academy in his native Pamplona and he joined Atletico in 2007.

He was loaned back to Osasuna for the 2011-12 season before returning to the capital to play a key role in Atletico's triumphant King's Cup campaign last season, when they also finished third in La Liga.

Diego Simeone's side are currently level on 60 points at the top of the standings with champions Barcelona and Real Madrid and Garcia is one of the players who has flourished under Simeone since the Argentine took over at the end of 2011.

"He is one of the strongest characters in the dressing room and the proof is that this season he is one of the three club captains," Atletico sporting director Jose Luis Perez Caminero said on the club's website .

"He contributes in both defence and attack and on top of that he is scoring goals." (Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Ken Ferris)

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