Argentina captain Lionel Messi has been reported to have agreed to stay at Barcelona on a deal until 2026 that includes reducing his wages to half of his previous salary.

Re-signing Messi was the principal summer target of Barca president Joan Laporta and two weeks ago he assured his Catalan faithful’s that ‘La pulga’ will stay.

“Don’t worry about Messi, we have everything in control. I am positive he is still ours,” said el presidente.

Messi had been linked with moves to Paris St-Germain and Manchester City, where he would have been reunited with his former boss at Barcelona Pep Guardiola, as well as America’s Major League Soccer, which he has previously considered experiencing.

But to keep the Argentine wizard at Camp Nou, Barca are now looking at a swap deal involving forward Antoine Griezmann and Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, with the idea of reducing the wage bill.

Fringe players such as Junior Firpo, Jean-Clair Todibo and Carles Alena have already been sold to free up budget but other big-name departures will also need to take place.

Messi, 34, was a free agent after his 123 million pounds a season contract expired on 30 June.

Barcelona’s record scorer with 672 goals, has won 10 La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues, seven Copa del Reys as well as claiming the Ballon d’Or on a record six occasions, is still on holiday after winning the Copa America last week.

The finer details of the contract are yet to be finalized.

By Shadrack Andenga Odinga


Source: AFP

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