The player’s father met with the club officials Javier Faus and Antoni Rossich last week and effectively closed the deal which will keep the player, who will be 27 in June, at the club until 2018.
Messi’s 250m buy-out clause will remain but the player’s wages are expected to rise to £15.5m net which will take him beyond Cristiano Ronaldo who earns £15m a season at Real Madrid.
With the complexity of bonuses and add-ons the gap between world football’s top two will be minimal but Barca will now have bragging rights over Madrid until the capital club makes its next move.
Barcelona had planned to announce the new deal at the weekend but the unexpected prospect of winning the league on Saturday if they beat Atletico Madrid at home could even bring the announcement forward to Wednesday or Thursday.
As well as being the world’s top two players Messi and Ronaldo are La Liga’s commercial colossi generating more money for their respective clubs than most of the rest of the league combined and due to an important change in Messi’s new deal Barca will now be better placed to tap-in to that money stream as for the first time since signing his first deal in 2005 Messi will not keep 100 per cent of his image rights.
This is Messi’s seventh contract renewal in 11 years and his camp have finally given in to club demands that he share his rights.
Messi’s representative and father Jorge was informed in last week’s meeting that the club’s new manager for next season will be Luis Enrique but new signings were not discussed. Despite that, it is no secret that the Barça forward is close pals with Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero and would love him to join him at the Nou Camp.
A bid for Aguero would only be possible if Barcelona successfully off-loaded strikers Alexis Sanchez and Pedro. This summer will see Barca celebrate winning their appeal over a transfer ban by dramatically overhauling their squad.