Thiago extends Barcelona contract

Barcelona's highly-regarded midfielder Thiago Alcantara has extended his contract at Camp Nou, the European champions said on Wednesday.

The 20-year-old, who is of Brazilian origin, is seen as a long-term replacement at the Catalan club for Spain international Xavi who turns 32 in January.

Thiago helped Spain to a 2-0 victory in Saturday's European under-21 championship final, scoring an audacious 40-metre free-kick against Switzerland.

He made his debut for Barca in a league match at Real Mallorca in May 2010 but has played mainly for the club's B side the past two seasons.

English sides Manchester United, Arsenal and Bolton Wanderers have all been credited with an interest in the playmaker this summer.

The midfielder had two years left on his contract, but has agreed to extend by a further two years to June 2015. The contract includes a release clause of €90 million.