Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi has reached an agreement with the club to sign a new five-year deal.
This was confirmed by the club sources, who added that Messi has accepted a significant wage reduction to prolong his stay.
Messi became a free agent after his contract at Barca expired. This has made him court interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City since first revealing a desire to end his 20-year relationship with Barca last summer. His previous contract was worth over €500m and that expired at the stroke of midnight on July 1.
The return of Joan Laporta as president in March has brought a new twist to Messi’s future at the club, some months after tendering a transfer request. Laporta’s presence has now made Messi grew more open to staying at Camp Nou. Thus, an official announcement is expected in the coming days.
Laporta has been hoping to finalise an agreement before Messi’s previous terms expired but that became impossible due to Barca’s financial problems. The Catalan club is grappling with a gross debt of over €1bn. In a bid to cut down costs, Barca has been transferring players out, reducing the wage bill and getting Messi to accept a lower salary.
Now that an agreement has been reached, La Liga is expected to sanction the deal. President Javier Tebas had warned Barca they would not be allowed to register Messi’s new deal if they were unable to reduce spending to comply with the league’s financial fair play rules. The COVID-19 pandemic has made Barca’s spending limit to be reduced from over €600m to €347m, with further reductions expected to be imposed for the upcoming season.
After leading Argentina to the Copa America success – his first for his country, Messi has gone on holiday with his family. He is expected to link up with Ronald Koeman’s squad later in the summer, with Barca’s league campaign kicking off on Aug. 15 against Real Sociedad at Camp Nou.
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