Report: Messi taking 'significant' salary cut to stay at Barca for 5 more years

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Lionel Messi accepted a significant reduction in salary to stay at Barcelona for the next five years, sources told ESPN's Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens.

Messi reportedly reached an agreement with Barcelona on Wednesday over a longer deal than had been anticipated. It was reported in June that the 34-year-old had accepted a two-year extension, with multiple outlets touting a subsequent move to Major League Soccer.

But Messi instead committed to the Blaugrana until the age of 39, according to Marsden and Llorens. He also agreed to cut his salary by 50%, Sport's Ivan San Antonio reports.

His previous deal reportedly paid up to €138 million per season.

La Liga president Javier Tebas threatened to block the club from registering Messi's new contract if it failed to rein in its spending. Barcelona reported gross debt at a whopping €1.173 billion while carrying €671 million in wages during the 2020-21 season.

La Liga imposes individual salary caps based on a number of factors, including a club's revenue and debt. Though Barcelona far exceeded their €382.7-million limit last season, La Liga chose not to take disciplinary action because of the financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite Barcelona's difficulties, they still managed to sign Dutch forward Memphis Depay and Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero on free transfers.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta also secured a €500-million line of credit in May to alleviate the pressure on the club's books.

Messi nearly forced his way out of Barcelona last August after a humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals. His camp believed he could activate a clause allowing him to unilaterally terminate his contract and leave as a free agent, but then-club president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted no such clause existed.

Messi declined to take the club to court and saw out the remainder of the campaign. The Argentine scored 38 goals across all competitions and helped Barcelona win the Copa del Rey, their first title in two years.

Report: Messi taking 'significant' salary cut to stay at Barca for 5 more years
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