Exclusive: Barcelona and Messi close five-year contract agreement

The deal is now completely finalised and will be announced in the coming days

| sport

Lluís Mascaró

Lionel Messi will renew with Barcelona until 2026. The agreement between the forward and the club is final and now all that's needed is for the president Joan Laporta to reduce the wage bill so the contract can be registered with LaLiga.

Negotiations kicked on in recent hours and have now been closed, SPORT have learned, and it's expected the official announcement will follow in the coming days. SPORT had previously revealed it would be finalised in August.

Messi's contract expired on June 30 but he's always shown a desire to renew since Laporta came in as president. Talks have been intense in recent months but an agreement has been reached with the player's father, Jorge.

Despite the complications due to Barça's financial situation, Laporta was always optimistic of getting it done. However, he has also acted discretely to get everything over the line.

The remaining details have been solved in the last few hours over a five-year deal with a 50 percent wage decrease. The longer deal goes some way to compensating the loss of earnings.

Barça still have to negotiate wage deferrals with the veterans of the squad (Piqué, Busquets, Alba y Sergi Roberto), who they want to delay 40 percent of the salaries.

They also need to move on Umttiti, Pjanic and Braithwaite and to resolve the futures of players like Griezmann and Coutinho, although they could stay if they drop their wages.

Messi is on holiday in Ibiza waiting for the deal to be finalised. He spent the weekend there with his family and the families of Luis Suarez and Cesc Fabregas.

He will not return for preseason until the contract is signed.

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