International soccer sensation Lionel Messi has reached a new contract with FC Barcelona, one that features a significant pay cut from his previous deal with the club that was worth $549 million, according to a report.
Sources told ESPN that the 43-year-old footballer reached a five-year contract with Barcelona and accepted a significant reduction from his previous four-year deal, which expired on June 30.
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The new contract comes as a surprise after Messi previously requested to leave the club last summer. The sudden change of heart may have to do with last year’s hiring of Dutch coach Ronald Koeman and president Joan Laporta’s recent return. He is known to have a good relationship with the Argentine star from his previous tenure as club president.
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Details of the contract likely will not be revealed until after the club settles some of its financial troubles caused by the pandemic. According to ESPN, Messi’s deal cannot be registered by the club until it reduces a significant portion of its estimated €1 billion in gross debt, per the league’s Financial Fair Play rules.
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Messi has won 35 titles in 17 seasons with Barcelona. He helped the club win the Champions League four times, the Spanish league 10 times, the Copa del Rey seven times and the Spanish Super Cup eight times.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.