Lionel Messi to take 50 per cent pay cut to stay at Barcelona this season

Lionel Messi has reportedly agreed to take a 50 per cent pay cut to remain at Barcelona next season.

Messi's future has been up in the air ever since last summer when the Argentine shocked the football world by handing in a transfer request.

That sparked a huge scramble for his signature, with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain both touted as potential destinations.

But almost one year on and with Messi now a free agent after his last Nou Camp contract expired on June 30, the star is set to sign a new five year deal that will keep him at the club until 2026.

That is according to Marca (via L'Esportiu) who report that Messi has agreed to cut his £500,000-per-week salary in half to remain at Barcelona until his playing days are over.

They add that although an agreement has only been reached in 'principle', it is unlikely anything will stop Messi putting pen to paper and extending his stay in Catalonia beyond two decades.

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The news will come as a great relief to Barcelona fans and president Joan Laporte who has been fighting tooth and nail to keep Messi at the club with which he is inextricably linked.

It is understood that Messi's new contract will be announced soon, possibly before the end of this month, as Barcelona look to wrap up their business before the start of the La Liga season.

However, it is unclear what the Argentine's deal will mean for his Barca team-mates.

Players have been put up for sale to finance a new deal for the star as the Catalan club attempt to comply with the league's strict financial fair play rules.

Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti and Antoine Griezmann are among those believed to be available for transfer should the right offer arrive.

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