Photo: Lionel Messi
FC Barcelona and superstar striker Lionel Messi have reached agreement on a “revised and updated” contract, the details of which will be announced in the coming days once the deal is signed, the Spanish soccer club announced Friday.
The negotiations began months ago while the club’s former president, Sandro Rosell, was still at the helm but have taken time to be completed.
Messi’s current contract runs through 2018 and the club’s idea is to make him the world’s highest-paid player with a net annual salary of around 20 million euros ($27.4 million) a year.
The announcement comes on the eve of Saturday’s La Liga title-deciding match between defending champion Barça and Atletico Madrid.
Messi’s buy-out clause will remain at 250 million euros under the new deal, which will mark the seventh time the Argentine star’s contract has been renewed and/or adjusted in nine years.
The 26-year-old four-time world player of the year, who joined Barcelona’s youth academy in 2000, has competed in more matches for the Blaugrana (424) than any other foreign player and is the club’s all-time leading scorer with 354 goals.
The striker has tallied more than 40 goals in each of the past five seasons and is just eight goals shy of surpassing Telmo Zarra as the leading scorer in the history of the Spanish league’s first division.
Since his debut with Barça’s first team in the 2004-2005 season, the club has won 21 titles: 6 La Liga crowns, 3 Champions League titles, 2 Copa del Rey championships, 2 Club World Cups, 2 UEFA Super Cups and 6 Spanish Supercopas.
The current season has been a frustrating one for Messi, however. He has sustained three injuries, the last of which forced him to undergo a recovery program in Argentina in December.
Though he has had moments of brilliance in many matches, Messi has lacked the consistency of past years and that sub-par performance has been reflected in the club’s spotty results in its different competitions.