Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele of FC Barcelona during a game against Sevilla on February 23, 2019
Eric Verhoeven | Socrates | Getty Images
Lionel Messi has reached an oral agreement for a five-year contract extension at Barcelona, with his salary cut by 50% under the new contract.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was officially a free agent as of July 1 after failing to agree on renewal terms before his previous Barcelona contract expired on June 30.
In early July, Messi led Argentina for the Copa America title Thanks to a 1-0 win in the final against hosts Brazil, the wait for a first major international trophy is over.
The 34-year-old has now agreed to stay at his youth club for another five years, which means he will be 39 when his new contract expires – if he is on the club’s books for a total of 26 years.
Read more stories from Sky Sports
Messi sparked a bitter transfer dispute in August last year when he officially notified the club of his desire to activate a clause in his contract that would have left him for free.
However, La Liga presidents Javier Tebas and Josep Maria Bartomeu – Barcelona president at the time – blocked the move, suggesting the clause was only active until June 10 and each candidate had their € 700m release clause in full would have to pay.
“I thought and we were sure that I would be a free agent,” said Messii goal.
“The president always told me I could stay or go at the end of the season and they are now clinging to the fact that I hadn’t said anything until June 10th when it turned out that it was league season on 10th still going on and we were in the middle of this virus and disease that changed the entire gaming calendar.
“And that’s why I’m staying at the club. I’m staying now because the president has told me that I can only pay the € 700 million release clause, which is impossible.”
Bartomeu continued to Resignation in October, while Messi wanted to hear his successor Joan Laporta’s plans before deciding on his future.
Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain were the top clubs interested in signing him. Messi also wants to play in the MLS one day.