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Lionel Messi: Barcelona forward agrees new contract

Barcelona announce Lionel Messi has agreed a new contract

Four-time world player of the year Lionel Messi has agreed a new contract with Barcelona.

The Argentina forward’s last deal, agreed in February last year, was due to run until 2018.

Barca have yet to release details about the length of the new deal with the 26-year-old Messi, who has scored 41 goals in 43 games this season.

Highest-paid footballer?

Lionel Messi’s new deal looks set to see him eclipse Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney as the world’s highest-paid player.

Rooney signed a new £15.6m-a-year deal in February to top the reported salaries of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (£14.25m) and Messi, whose was thought to be earning £12.08m a year before agreeing his new deal, according to the 2013 Forbes rich list.

“The revised and updated contract will be signed over the next few days,” said a Barca statement released on Friday.

The announcement follows lengthy negotiations, during which it was reported that Messi wanted to become the best-paid player in the world.

Claims in the Spanish media suggest Messi, a four-time Ballon d’Or winner, will be tied to the club for a further year – until June 2019 – and will be paid 20m euros (£16.3m) a season, plus performance-linked bonuses.

“It should give peace to him and especially to the club, who can continue to count on the best player in the world,” said Barca coach Gerardo Martino.

The ex-Newell’s Old Boys youngster, who moved to Barcelona’s La Masia academy as a 13-year-old, has scored 342 goals in 405 appearances for the club since making his first-team debut in October 2004.

Sport’s top earners

£25.75m – American footballer Aaron Rodgers is the world’s highest paid athlete, based on wage/winnings, say Forbes.

£19m – The amount boxer Floyd Mayweather earned for his April fight with Marcos Maidana before pay-per-view money was added.

During that time he has helped the club win 21 major titles, including six La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues and two Copa Del Reys.

News of Messi’s improved contract came a day before he could earn another Spanish title winners’ medal.

Barcelona host La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid on Saturday in a decisive final game of the season.

The reigning champions will retain the title through a superior head-to-head record should they beat Atletico at the Nou Camp.

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