Where Lionel Messi will be playing football for the next five years has been determined after the Barcelona icon verbally agreed a massive pay cut to secure his long-term future, per a report.
The Argentine, 34, became the highest profile free agent in football history on July 1. Messi has played his entire senior career with Barcelona after moving to Spain in 2000. He helped Argentina lift their first Copa America since 1993 last week and remains one of world football’s most potent attacking threats despite his advancing age.
Given his profile and monumental salary, the list of clubs that could realistically have taken Messi on board was a small one.
Remaining at the Nou Camp always appeared the likeliest outcome, and per Sky Sports, that is exactly what will happen.
They report that Messi has ‘verbally agreed’ a five-year extension. That will see him remain in Barcelona until the age of 39.
But what is most surprising about the report is Messi has apparently greenlit a whopping 50 percent reduction in his salary.
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Barcelona’s dire financial situation is no longer a secret. A number of high profile saleable assets including Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho are said to be available as they seek to balance their books.
Messi’s pay cut is another indication of their financial struggles, though they were seemingly not enough to convince Messi that his future should lay elsewhere.
Everton eyeing Barcelona ‘leader’ coup
Meanwhile, Everton boss Rafael Benitez is hoping the club’s recent relationship with Barcelona bears fruit once more to the tune of a ‘leader’ for his backline, per a report.
The 26-year-old has rarely put a foot wrong at the Nou Camp, but could be available this summer as one of a handful of saleable assets that could help ease their well publicised financial strife.
Now, Football Espana (citing Spanish outlet Diario Sport) take it a step further. They report that Benitez is so confident in Lenglet’s abilities that he wishes to install him as their backline’s ‘leader’.
Whether Everton are able to pull off the coup, only time will tell. Though recent history does point to a strong working relationship between the two clubs.
Lucas Digne, Andre Gomes and Yerry Mina have all swapped the Nou Camp for Goodison Park in recent years.