Barcelona is reportedly set to make an “imminent” announcement that captain Lionel Messi has signed a new deal with the Catalan giants and will continue his career at the Camp Nou.
The announcement could be made “between tomorrow and Friday, if there are no last-minute setbacks,” according to Ferran Correas at L’Esportiu. The agreement will last for five seasons and contain a release clause set at €600 million ($708m).
The deal was closed on Monday and sees Messi take a “significant pay cut” in order to help the club comply with La Liga’s salary cap. Barca has already presented the details to La Liga president Javier Tebas “who has validated it” as long as the club reduces its wage bill further.
Ivan San Antonio at Diario Sport reports that Messi has accepted a “50%” pay cut “because he understands that the club’s financial situation is very complicated and he must be the first to set an example.”
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Messi Staying For Another Five Years?
The surprise detail in the latest reports on Messi’s contract is that the 34-year-old Argentine will sign for five years. It had previously been reported he would spend two more seasons with Barca then head to Major League Soccer for a spell.
However, San Antonio reports that Messi “sees himself with strength and energy to continue wearing the Barça shirt at the highest level for five more years.” It’s a decision the club agrees with it and could see him playing at the Camp Nou until he’s 39.
Certainly Messi has shown few signs of slowing down despite celebrating his 34th birthday in June. The forward finished as La Liga’s top scorer last season for the fifth campaign in a row and was also the top scorer at the Copa America.
Messi Favorite For Ballon d’Or
Messi’s performances for club and country mean the 34-year-old is once again the favorite to win the prestigious Ballon d’Or. The Argentine has already claimed the prize a record six times but could lift the Golden Ball yet again in 2021.
Chelsea midfielder Jorginho has emerged as a contender, after winning the Champions League with the Blues and Euro 2020 with Italy, but is not too sure about his chances, as reported by Marca.
“We all have dreams,” Jorginho said when asked of his chances. “But I’ll be honest, it depends on the criteria a decision is made based on,” he said. “If we’re talking about talent then I know I’m not the best in the world. But if it’s going on titles, then nobody has won more than I have this season. How could I compare myself to Messi, Neymar or Cristiano Ronaldo? They’ve completely different characteristics to me. But, I repeat, it depends on the criteria.”
Messi was influential again for Barcelona last season and helped the team win the Copa del Rey, but it’s his performances for Argentina at the Copa America that may just have sealed another trophy for his extensive cabinet.