- Golem Balagh
- Spanish football writer
Lionel Messi has agreed to stay at Barcelona until 2026 under a deal that cuts his salary in half.
The announcement of the agreement depends on the departure of other players, allowing Barcelona to finance the financial dues of the Argentine captain.
Messi, 34, was a free agent after his contract – which stipulates a salary of 123 million pounds a season – expired on June 30.
He is currently on vacation after winning the Copa America, and the exact details of the contract have not yet been finalized.
Messi’s re-signing of the contract is the main objective of the new chairman of the board, Joan Laporta, in the summer season.
Barcelona is discussing an exchange deal that includes striker Antoine Griezmann and Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, with the aim of reducing the wage bill.
Important players such as Junior Firpo, Jean-Clair Todibo and Karles Alaina have all been sold for budget reasons – but other big names should also leave.
There was talk of Messi moving either to Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City, where he will meet again with his former coach in Barcelona, Pep Guardiola, in addition to the American Football League, which he previously intended to try.
Messi is Barcelona’s record scorer with 672 goals and won ten La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and the King’s Cup seven times, in addition to winning the Ballon d’Or on six occasions, this is a record number.
And despite being one of the most decorated and intelligent players of the modern era – and arguably of all times – questions about his lack of influence on the international stage may remain with his footballing legacy.
The repeated failures with Argentina were painful for the striker, who went so far as to announce his retirement – before reversing the decision – after losing for the second time in a row in the Copa America final in 2016.