It was reported on Tuesday that Lionel Messi and Barcelona had an agreement in principle for the Argentine star to stay at the Camp Nou for another five years – until he turns 39 – effectively ending his career at the club.
The reports suggest there is going to be a significant pay cut – up to 50 percent of what he currently earns – and it’s only up to the legal representatives to sort things out before everything is confirmed.
Extending Messi’s contract was always a key objective for new President Joan Laporta, who returned to the club in March, and he will now look to sort out other matters, including reducing the club’s immense debt and selling on fringe players to make Barcelona a force once again.
Despite the pay-cut, Messi will still be earning a significant amount of money, which Barcelona felt was worth it considering the player’s marketability and how much he brings into the club.
It’s previously been reported that club sponsors often sign yearly deals with Barcelona as they hope to have Messi donning their company.
The Argentina star, who recently captained his country to Copa America success – his first international trophy – earned a reported £118m-per-year, but that expired on June 30.
He was the second-highest earning sportsman last year, according to Forbes, with his previous contract worth more than half a billion euros over four years, including a one-off payment of £98m for signing the deal and a £67m loyalty bonus.
Now though, he is expected to earn about £59m-per-year, which is still one of the highest sums for a footballer across Europe.
His net worth at the start of the year was estimated to be £309m, according to Goal, including earnings as wages, sponsorships, endorsements and image rights.
Last week, Barcelona had issues registering their new signings due to La Liga’s salary limit rules, having picked up Eric Garcia, Memphis Depay, Sergio Aguero and Emerson Royal this summer.
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However, they have made adjustments to the team to accommodate them and Messi, and will look to offload players such as Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho and Samuel Umtiti, among others, this summer.
Messi has always maintained that he wants a winning project at a club and having won the Copa del Rey last season, he will want more next season.
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