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Granada 19:45 Barcelona

Barca seek to retain Marquez

Catalan giants want defender to sign on

By Francisco Acedo.   Last Updated: 26/10/09 1:31pm

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Marquez: Out of contract in the summer

Marquez: Out of contract in the summer

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Barcelona are keen to secure defender Rafael Marquez on a new long-term deal after settling Carles Puyol's future.

The Mexico international's contract is due to expire at the end of the Liga season, something Barca want to address.

The 30-year-old has been an integral part of the Camp Nou squad for several years and Pep Guardiola is looking to retain his services.

Lionel Messi and Puyol have committed their futures to the Spanish giants this term and Barca now hope Marquez will follow suit.

"The defender's contract finishes in June 2010 and we're optimistic of resolving this in the near future," explained sporting director Txiki Begiristain.

"After reaching a deal with Carles Puyol our attention now turns to Marquez. That is our priority.

"After some talks we're hoping for an answer, but the difference is not about the length, just the money."

Hat-trick delight

Meanwhile, Mali international Seydou Keita has expressed his delight at netting his first career hat-trick against Real Zaragoza.

Barca bounced back in style from their Rubin Kazan upset in the UEFA Champions League by putting Zaragoza to the sword with Keita in fine form in front of goal.

"Personally I'm very happy for the win and because of my goals," said Keita. "After the European defeat to Rubin it was important we responded with a win against Zaragoza.

"I've never scored a hat-trick before. This is the first time I've scored three in a match, but I'm staying calm. I got my team-mates to sign the match ball. It'll be an important trophy at home.

"My job isn't to score, but to protect our midfield. The coach congratulated me after the match and it's important I continue to work hard to improve."

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