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Soccer-Mascherano agrees new four-year Barcelona deal


By Tim Hanlon

BARCELONA, June 7 (Reuters) - Barcelona's Javier Mascherano has agreed a new deal to stay for a further four seasons, the club said on Saturday, in a move that shows new coach Luis Enrique has a role for him in his side.

"Barcelona announces that it has reached an agreement with Javier Mascherano for the improvement and extension of his contract for the next four seasons, until the 30th June 2018, plus an optional extra year. The buyout clause is 100 million euros ($136.43 million)," a club statement read.

There has been plenty of speculation over the future of the Argentine who arrived from Liverpool in 2010 as a defensive midfielder who could play as a makeshift centre back, but has ended up being mainly employed at the back.

The Barcelona defence looked shaky last season and Mascherano's weaknesses were exposed, particularly his lack of height. (tim.hanlon@gmail.com)

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