Matuidi signs new contract with PSG until 2018

JEROME PUGMIRE AP Sports Writer Published:

PARIS (AP) -- Midfielder Blaise Matuidi has signed a new contract with Paris Saint-Germain until 2018, ending months of speculation surrounding his future.

The 26-year-old Matuidi has been one of PSG's key players, playing an important role in the French league title run last year. The France international was out of contract in June and had been linked with a big-money move to English Premier League side Manchester City.

Matuidi has formed a dynamic central midfield pairing with Thiago Motta, who recently signed a new deal to keep him at the club until 2016. PSG is also negotiating terms with Brazil center half Alex over a new contract.

A tireless runner renowned for his tenacious tackling, Matuidi has played 124 games and scored 13 goals for PSG since joining from Saint-Etienne in 2011.

"I was determined to continue the adventure with Paris Saint-Germain," said Matuidi, who has played 19 times for France. "The club's limitless ambition is unequaled in Europe."

Since Qatari backers QSI took charge in May 2011, PSG already has bought four players costing more than 40 million euros ($55 million) each -- Brazil captain Thiago Silva, Argentina midfielder Javier Pastore, the club's first marquee signing who has since fallen out of favor, Brazil winger Lucas and Uruguay forward Edinson Cavani.

PSG also signed midfielder Yohan Cabaye from Premier League club Newcastle last month, and the fact Matuidi is staying on shows PSG has the power both to lure and keep good players, when the French league has historically mainly been a selling league.

"We are sending out a very strong message to France and the rest of Europe by re-signing one of France's very best players," PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said. "Together, we want to build one of the best clubs in the world."

PSG leads the French league by five points from Monaco, and thrashed Bayer Leverkusen 4-0 away from home in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 match.

The team is scoring freely and Zlatan Ibrahimovic has 37 goals in all competitions.