Barcelona are close to announcing that Lionel Messi has signed a contract to continue with the club. The 34-year-old has agreed a five-year deal rather than initial two-year extension that had been discussed.
The contract is structured to help the club stay within the boundaries of La Liga’s financial fair play regulations. Messi is taking a significant salary cut but bonuses have been worked in and he is due to earn less this coming season than he will the season after as Barcelona wrestle with their finances.
There is an acceptance that Messi may not see out his contract given that he will be approaching his 39th birthday when the final season of the deal ends. Esto, también, has been factored into the financial arrangement.
Messi’s future has never been in serious doubt even though he became a free agent at the end of June. He has spent his whole career at Barcelona and held no talks with Paris Saint-Germain, who had an interest.
The forward is recuperating after helping Argentina to win the Copa América in Brazil. Barcelona fell short in La Liga and the Champions League last season but have kept faith with Ronald Koeman as manager and signed the free agents Sergio Agüero, Eric García and Memphis Depay and paid for the right-back Emerson Royal.
Barcelona have also taken the Austrian forward Yusuf Demir on loan from Rapid Vienna for for €500,000 with an option to buy for €10m but he is listed as a signing for the B team.