BARCELONA, Spain (AP): Barcelona forward Neymar signed a three-year contract extension yesterday, tying him to the Spanish champion until 2021. Barcelona announced Neymar’s agreement to the terms of a new deal in July. The new deal includes a buyout clause that increases from €200 million (US$217 million) in its first year, to €220 million in the second year and to €250 million in the third year. The 24-year-old Neymar joined Barcelona from Brazilian club Santos in 2013. He has scored 91 goals in 150 matches, including six goals in nine matches this season. Forming a dominant attacking trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Su·rez, he has helped Barcelona win the Champions League, two Spanish leagues, two Copa del Rey trophies, and the Club World Cup. “This is great news,” Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said. “Neymar has grown into one of the best players in the world.”
Beijing: China on Monday threw its weight behind Iran after the US blamed the country for the weekend drone attacks on major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, saying that it is not fair to blame Tehran for the bombings without any conclusive probe. The attacks on Saturday targeted Abqaiq, the site of the largest oil processing plant run by the Saudi state oil company, Aramco, and the Khurais oilfield. Iran has denied involvement in the air attacks, which were claimed by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the attack, without providing any evidence, prompting Tehran to accuse Washington of deceit. The attacks resulted in 10 per cent surge of oil prices on Monday. “In the absence of conclusive investigation and results, we don’t think it is responsible to blame anyone,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.