Reports have emerged in Spain that Lionel Messi will extend his stay at Barcelona by signing a five-year deal, ending debates and rumours about where the Argentine superstar will finish his playing career.
Messi will take a wage cut to remain at Camp Nou according to La Vanguardia newspaper and ESPN on Wednesday.
Barcelona’s top scorer has recently returned to Spain having won the Copa America with Argentina and is ready to heal a rift with the club going back more than a year when he demanded to leave the club having fallen out with the boardroom over the way the club was being run. He is technically a free agent as his contract ran out last month but he now looks set to end his career with the Catalans.
Since Joan Laporta returned as Barca president, there has been a thawing in hostilities with Mess, and the club has been trying to reduce their wage bill in order to keep him and stay within La Liga’s strict financial control rules.
Messi "will sign a five-season contract with a release clause of 600 million euros ($709 million)," according to Catalan sports daily L'Esportiu.
"The player will reduce his wage by 50 per cent. Now it just remains for the lawyers to look over the agreement and give it the OK. Once that happens (his) continuation will be official," said Madrid-based sports daily Marca which confirmed L'Esportiu's initial story.
According to the latter, Messi, 34, will earn in the region of 20 million euros basic next season with the Catalan club, which he has led to 10 league crowns as well as four Champions Leagues.
La Liga chief Javier Tebas said last week that Barcelona, which has a total debt of more than 1 billion euros, would not be shown any leniency.
The club have been trying to rebuild the squad with Junior Firpo, Jean-Clair Todibo and Carles Alena being sold to make way for free signings Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia.