Argentinian soccer superstar Lionel Messi will continue with the Spanish cult football club, FC Barcelona, for the next five years, but with a 50 percent pay cut.
The 34-year-old, who was officially a free agent earlier, is believed to have now agreed -- verbally at this point of time -- to the new terms after his contract expired on June 30. Messi has spoken to Barcelona President Joan Laporta and his team, said reports.
Messi, who won the Ballon d'Or six times, led his country Argentina to his first major international championship victory against Brazil in the Copa America final on July 10.
By July 2026, Messi would have spent 26 years (of his 39 years) with Barcelona subject to him completing this new five-year term.
In August 2020, there were rumours of Messi's exit from Barcelona, when he officially asked the club to remove a contract clause wherein he would have walked away without any money.
However, interventions by La Liga President Javier Tebas and then Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu foiled the move. They hinted that the clause would be active only till June 10 and the new suitor would have to pay Messi’s 700 million euros (around $826 million) as release amount, as per reports.
Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain clubs were interested in signing Messi, as per reports.
Barcelona still could have a gross debt of 1.2 billion euros ($1.42 billion). The club has to reduce its spending, specially on fees paid to their current players, as they have also signed Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia and Memphis Depay, in addition to Messi.
The deal with Messi is approximately worth up to $673 million (including incentives) over four years and it comes up to roughly $118 million for the other new players.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)
First Published: IST