Barca quartet in talks over new contracts

BARCELONA - Barcelona are in talks with Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol and Rafael Marquez on renewing their contracts, sporting director Txiki Begiristain said on Wednesday. The European and Spanish champions have already agreed new contracts with other key players including goalkeeper Victor Valdes and midfielders Xavi and Yaya Toure and Begiristain said it was important to "keep the basic unit from last season". "He (Messi) is the best player in the world," Begiristain said of the Argentina forward at the club's general assembly, adding that they would attempt to bring Spain midfielder Iniesta's salary "in line with current reality". Barca's forays into the transfer market this summer had not been easy, Begiristain said, calling the situation "crazy" with "scandalous and astronomical prices" being paid for players.