BARCELONA: Lionel Messi is expected to extend his stay at Barcelona by signing a new five-year deal, with the Argentinian talisman facing a pay cut, La Vanguardia and ESPN reported on Wednesday.
Barca’s all-time top scorer and appearance maker Messi technically ended his 21-year association with the club last month and is currently a free agent after his previous contract expired.
Since Joan Laporta took over the Barca presidency, the club have been trying to cut their payroll in order to keep Messi and stay within La Liga’s strict financial control rules.
La Liga chief Javier Tebas said last week that Barcelona, who have a total debt of more than one billion euros ($ 1.18 billion), would show no leniency.
Messi’s last contract, signed in 2017, was the most lucrative in world sport according to an article published in January in the El Mundo newspaper.
The club have tried to rebuild the squad with Junior Firpo, Jean-Clair Todibo and Carles Alena sold to make way for free signings from Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia.
Messi, 34, won his first major international title with Argentina this weekend, beating his Brazilian rival in the Copa America final.
Messi was voted tournament’s best player along with Neymar after finishing the tournament’s top scorer with four goals, while also leading the assists table with five. -REUTERS