Lionel Messi reportedly re-signs with Barcelona at lower salary

·2 min read

Lionel Messi has reached a new five-year deal with Barcelona, though it comes with a significant pay cut, ESPN reported Wednesday.

Messi became a free agent when his contract with Barcelona expired on June 30. He reportedly showed interest in Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City after showing interest in leaving the club with which he has spent 20 years.

The forward's previous deal was $594 million over four years. His new deal is reportedly less and had to wait until the club could transfer out players and reduce the salaries it paid out. Barcelona has debt over $1.18 billion.

Spanish league rules limit a club's spending to a percentage of club revenue and La Liga officials had said they would not adjust that rule for Barcelona, per The New York Times. The club had to cut about $240 million to register new players, which it had to do with Messi because his contract expired. 

Messi, 34, won his first major trophy with the Argentina national team last weekend at the Copa America. He is currently on vacation with his family and will re-join Barcelona later this summer. League play begins Aug. 15 against Real Sociedad. 

A six-time Ballon d'Or winner, Messi asked out of Barcelona last summer and was reportedly "keen" on a move to Manchester City. Financial Fair Play rules were also at play in that potential move. 

The soccer great joined the club's academy in 2000 and has played 778 matches for Barcelona, breaking Xavi Hernandez's appearance record last season. His 672 goals scored are a club record and he has helped Barca win 10 La Liga titles and four Champions League titles. 

Lionel Messi and Barcelona have reached an agreement on a new deal. (Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Lionel Messi and Barcelona have reached an agreement on a new deal. (Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

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