LIONEL MESSI has reportedly agreed to stay at Barcelona for another two seasons.
The Argentine maestro, 33, has told president Joan Laporta he’ll sign a new deal at the Nou Camp and reject a move away.
Barcelona-based journalist Miguel Rico reports that Messi will initially put pen to paper on a one-year deal with a significant pay cut.
That will help Barcelona navigate LaLiga’s wage cap for next season, and Messi will sign an extension next summer.
Messi’s stay could reportedly be made official on Thursday to coincide with his birthday.
The Argentine striker – who is currently on international duty at Copa America – is out of contract at the end of June.
He had been linked with a move to Manchester City or the MLS and came close to leaving the Nou Camp last year.
Messi has won 10 LaLiga titles in Catalunya along with four Champions Leagues, three Uefa Super Cups, three Club World Cups and seven Spanish Cups.
Barca were threatened with losing Messi due to LaLiga’s new wage cap.
LaLiga’s limit for the 2020-21 season was £328m while Barcelona’s pre-pandemic wage bill was £575m.
The Catalans were given some flexibility but LaLiga president Javier Tebas has sent down a stark warning.
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He said: “Barcelona have exceeded their wage cap.
“I hope they can keep Messi, but to do so, they will have to make cuts elsewhere.
“The severity of the situation depends on the resources they are capable of generating.
“Barca have to restructure their debt. If they manage that, the situation won’t be serious.
“But they have taken their wage bill to the limit. And when football has coughed – or, better put, punctured a lung – they haven’t wanted to absorb that loss of income. They must take measures.
“Of the £600m losses (across LaLiga), half of it is for Barcelona. There are other big clubs that have made a bigger effort to avoid it.
“Real Madrid have made a commendable effort to ensure their losses aren’t the same as Barca, who take the trophy for losses.”
The club have already signed Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Emerson Royal.
And they’re planning a clearout to reduce their wage bill – with the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Samuel Umtiti tipped to leave.
Barcelona’s debt has risen to £1.03bn amid the Covid pandemic.
The club have just taken out a £450m loan to help them through a tough financial period.