Lionel Messi is set to become the highest-paid player in the soccer world after he agreed to sign a new contract with FC Barcelona on Friday.
The new deal will tie Messi to Barcelona until 2019, and the Argentinian superstar is expected to put pen to paper within the next week.
“The revised and updated contract will be signed over the next few days,” Barcelona said in a statement, according to the BBC.
Messi reportedly will earn €20 million (£16.3 million/$27 million) plus bonuses per season — after taxes. It includes a significant raise on his current wages of €10.7 million (£8.9 million/$14.75 million) and keeps its buyout clause at its current price of €307 million (£250 million/$335 million).
Messi’s annual compensation will be higher than that of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (€17.5 million/£14.25 million/$22.6 million), Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney (€19.2 million/£15.6 million/$26.2 million) and Barcelona’s Neymar, whose arrival for an eye-popping transfer fee and lavish compensation last summer led to the downfall of former president Sandro Rossell and is rumored to have upset Messi and other leading players.
On Friday, (now former) Barcelona head coach Tata Martino said Messi’s new contract should end any strife between the club and its star player.
“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 new contract is Messi’s seventh in 11 years. The 26-year-old is Barcelona’s all-time leading goal scorer with 354 goals in 425 games. Messi has won six La Liga (Spanish first division) titles, three UEFA Champions League crowns, two Copa del Reys (Spanish Cup), two FIFA Club World Cups, two UEFA Super Cups and four FIFA Ballon d’Or awards.
Messi is arguably the sport’s greatest player, and his pay reflects that status.