BARCELONA – Lionel Messi and Barcelona have reached an agreement for the forward to sign a new five-year contract with the Catalan club, sources confirmed to ESPN. Sources added that Messi has accepted a significant pay cut to extend his stay.
Messi’s contract was due to expire at the end of the month and has piqued the interest of Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City since he first revealed his desire to end his 20-year relationship with Barça last summer.
Messi had first expressed his desire to leave Barça last August after the 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Her relationship with President Josep Maria Bartomeu had reached a breaking point.
In an interview with Goal, after Barça blocked his exit, Messi called Bartomeu a “liar” and said that the board had been “making things up on the fly” and “plugging holes” for years.
However, Bartomeu, faced with a vote of no confidence, resigned last October and was finally replaced by Joan Laporta in March. Laporta has a good relationship with Messi and his family.
He was president of Barça when Messi made his debut with the first team and when he signed his first professional contract with the club.
Sources told ESPN in April that Laporta was working on a two-year contract renewal for Messi with the option for one more year and the possibility of returning to the club after a season in Major League Soccer.
In public and in private, Laporta had always maintained that he was “convinced” that he could persuade Messi to stay at Barcelona.
Messi first joined the Barça youth squad in 2000 and has played 778 games for the club, breaking Xavi Hernández’s record last season.
In addition, he has scored 672 goals, another club record, and has helped Barça win, among other trophies, 10 league titles and four Champions League titles.