Business Standard

Messi closer to signing new contract with Barca

- THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Barcelona, 16 July

Lionel Messi and Barcelona are closer to signing a new deal that would keep the Argentina star at the Spanish club through the end of his playing career.

A person with knowledge of the negotiatio­ns between club and player told The Associated Press on Friday that Messi was prepared to accept Barcelona’s offer of a five-year contract at 50 per cent of his previous salary. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly about the negotiatio­ns.

In his previous contract, signed in 2017, Messi earned a massive 138 million euros ($163 million) per season. The person did not indicate the other aspects of the contract still being worked out between the club and Messi’s father, Jorge Messi, who acts as his agent. Barcelona has officially said nothing publicly about the details of the negotiatio­ns with the soccer great.

The 34-year-old joined Barcelona two decades ago at age 13. Last August he stunned Barcelona by announcing that he wanted out after the 20192020 season ended without a title and his relationsh­ip with then club president Josep Bartomeu deteriorat­ed.

The return of Joan Laporta to the club’s presidency in March has been instrument­al in bringing Messi back into the fold. Laporta ran Barcelona when Messi had his breakout as a teenager.

A significan­tly lower salary for Messi is critical to keeping him at the financiall­y troubled club following the losses sustained by the pandemic and some questionab­le management. Laporta admitted that a lower salary cap for Barcelona due to reduced revenues complicate­d his task to make all the pieces fit.

Messi’s previous contract with Barcelona expired on June 30.

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