BARCELONA: Lionel Messi, four times the world player of the year, agreed a new contract with Barcelona.
The Argentina forward’s last deal, agreed in February last year, was due to run until 2018.
Messi, has scored 41 goals in 43 games this season but it was known that he was concerned about financial details of the multiplicity of contracts sealed with Brazilian striker Neymar last year.
The 26-year-old’s new deal looks set to see him eclipse Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney as the world’s highest-paid player.
Rooney signed a new £15.6m-a-year deal in February to top the reported salaries of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (£14.25m) and Messi, whose was thought to be earning £12.08m a year before agreeing his new deal, according to the 2013 Forbes rich list.
A Barcelona statement, just ahead of the Liga title showdown against Atletico Madrid, said: “The revised and updated contract will be signed over the next few days.”
Claims in the Spanish media suggest Messi, a four-time Ballon d’Or winner, will be tied to the club for a further year – until June 2019 – and will be paid 20m euros (£16.3m) a season, plus performance-linked bonuses.
Peace of mind
Coach coach Gerardo Martino said: “It should give peace to him and especially to the club, who can continue to count on the best player in the world”
The ex-Newell’s Old Boys youngster, who moved to Barcelona’s La Masia academy as a 13-year-old, has scored 342 goals in 405 appearances for the club since making his first-team debut in October 2004.
During that time he has helped the club win 21 major titles, including six La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues and two Copa Del Reys.
Barcelona host La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid on Saturday in a decisive final game of the season. The champions will retain the title through a superior head-to-head record should they beat Atletico at the Nou Camp. A draw hands the title to Atletico.
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