Lionel Messi will sign a new five-year contract at Barcelona and take an incredible 50 per cent wage cut, Goal reports.
Messi has spent his entire career to date on Barca’s books, having initially made his debut for the club as a teenager in 2004, but dropped into the free agency pool at the start of July after reaching the end of his contract.
The Argentine won’t be embarking on a new challenge away from Camp Nou anytime soon, though, with the Blaugrana set to announce that they have tied the six-time Ballon d’Or winner down to a fresh long-term deal.
Messi earned a staggering €550 million (£468m/$650m) over the course of his last five-year contract at Camp Nou, which equates to around €75m (£64m/$89m) per season.
However, Barca were unable to hand the 34-year-old similarly lucrative renewal terms after exceeding La Liga’s wage limit at the end of the 2020-21 campaign .
League president Javier Tebas warned that the Blaugrana could not legally register Messi without significantly reducing their salary costs, with the likes of Junior Firpo, Jean-Clair Todibo, Carles Alena and Juan Miranda all subsequently sold to raise extra funds.
Messi has also agreed to halve his yearly earnings in order to re-sign for Barca, and it was reported that they will formally announce his new contract in the coming weeks after a few minor details are finalised.
Messi became available on a free transfer upon the expiration of his last deal, and it has been reported that the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Inter have all shown an interest in signing the Argentina international.
A possible return to boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys was also mooted, along with a potential foray into MLS with David Beckham-owned franchise Inter Miami.
Ut was gathered that Messi received several formal offers, including an attractive proposal from PSG, but he ultimately decided to remain a one-club man and continue playing for Barca until 2026 – at which point he will be 39 years of age.