Lionel Messi accepts new five-year contract to stay with Barcelona

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Barcelona are set to announce that Lionel Messi has signed a contract to continue with the club. The 34-year-old struck a five-year deal rather than the initial two-year extension that had been discussed.

The contract is structured to help the club stay within La Liga Financial Fair Play regulations. Messi suffers a significant pay cut but bonuses have been added and he is expected to earn less this season than he will the following season as Barcelona grapple with their finances.

It is admitted that Messi may not see his contract given that he will approach his 39th birthday at the end of the final season of the deal. This too was taken into account in 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 entire career at Barcelona and had no talks with Paris Saint-Germain, who had an interest.

The striker is recovering after helping Argentina win the Copa América in Brazil. Barcelona failed in La Liga and the Champions League last season, but kept their faith in Ronald Koeman as manager and signed free agents Sergio Agüero, Eric García and Memphis Depay and paid right-back Emerson Royal.

Barcelona have also loaned Austria striker Yusuf Demir to Rapid Vienna for € 500,000 with an option to buy for € 10million, but he is listed as a B team signatory.

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