Barcelona ‘reach agreement’ with Lionel Messi over five-year contract and hefty pay cut

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Barcelona are ready to confirm the news that Lionel Messi has signed a new contract, with reports in Spain claiming there is now an agreement in principle.

Messi has been a free agent since the start of this month after his existing contract expired.

There has been great speculation over the Argentinian’s future, with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain linked with a potential move.

Barca’s financial woes have added further fuel to the fire, with the Catalan giants falling foul of La Liga’s salary cap rules.

Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia, Sergio Aguero and Emerson have already been signed this summer, but thus far have been unable to be officially registered due to their bloated wage bill.

Lionel Messi has reportedly agreed a new long-term contract
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

But Messi looks set to hand president Joan Laporta a huge boost by agreeing to a 50 per cent wage cut.

A number of sources claim that the 34-year-old has agreed to the reduction in wages and will sign a five-year deal.

It is suggested that an official confirmation is imminent and that only bureaucracy is stopping an announcement.

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Marca add that Messi is unlikely to play all five years of his contract and will instead look towards playing in the MLS for the 2023/24 season.

The delay in Messi’s agreement can also be pinned to the Copa America, with the forward finally lifting the trophy after beating Brazil in last weekend’s final.

Laporta offered a promising update to fans earlier this week, one which now looks set to be proven true.

Messi is ready to accept a huge reduction in salary in order to stay with Barcelona
(Image: REUTERS)

"[Messi's renewal] is progressing adequately," Laporta said. "All the Catalans, Barcelona, Catalonia and the entire football world are happy because Leo won the Copa America.

"It is very exciting to see the best player in football history get excited about winning a title like this and he made all of us cry with joy.

"He is very happy, we are all happy, I am happy for Leo who has managed [to win the Copa America], together with his teammates, and that Argentina are once again in the elite, and [I am] also [happy] for [Sergio] Aguero.

"I am happy for Messi's family, for Argentina, for Barcelona who are recognised, admired and loved for having this bond with Leo."

The Barca president, who was elected off the back of promises to keep Messi, had previously suggested that money wasn’t an issue for the striker.

“We are preparing a proposal that with the [financial] limitations of the club can convince Messi [to stay]. He loves the club and we are all preparing whatever it takes for him to stay at Barca,” he said in May.

“We can make an offer within our [financial] possibilities. Leo deserves much more and could earn more elsewhere, [but] I’m convinced he values the effort we’re making and would like to stay.”

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