Lionel Messi Reportedly Set for New Barcelona Deal to Usurp Cristiano Ronaldo

Ravin Sampat@_sampatCorrespondent IIJanuary 2, 2014

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is set to prove he is more valuable than Cristiano Ronaldo, in financial terms anyway, with the Catalan club ready to offer him a new deal that will better the Real Madrid star's earnings, reports Eurosport.

Eurosport says Messi's new contract will send him top of the global earning charts:

With Messi seen as currently earning €16m, it is understood that Barca are looking to increase his salary by at least €5m a year, so as to place the Argentine at the top of the global salary charts.

In December ESPN FC’s Dermot Corrigan reported that any new deal with Messi was not on the agenda, with Barcelona vice-president Javier Faus claiming there was no reason to offer the Argentine a new contract.

Faus recently told Catalonia Radio (h/t ESPN's Corrigan) that the club see no need to offer their superstar another deal, with Ronaldo's wages apparently of no concern to the La Liga leaders:

"I do not know why we have to do it again. We do not have to improve a contract every six months,” Faus said.

Messi, 26, signed a new deal at Barcelona just last February, per the Daily Mail's Pete Jenson, which is reported to be worth about €12.5 million a year. At the time he became the best-paid player in Spanish football, per Corrigan.

But it seems Barcelona have decided to meet the demands of their star player after Messi was the subject of interest from other clubs in the summer, including Chelsea and Manchester City, per Jenson.

It seems Barcelona's offer of a new contract was also initiated to avoid any public spat between director and player. Last week Eurosport reported that Andres Iniesta was playing down any spat between Faus and Messi.

Iniesta said:

Sometimes things are said without thinking or without meaning to cause hurt. Messi is a fundamental player. He is for me, and for the club too.

Barca's big summer signing Neymar, 21, is thought to receive about €7 million a year, plus €2 million in performance bonuses.

It was reported by Jenson and Corrigan that Neymar and his family received €40 million of the €74 million transfer fee Barca paid for his services last season, which pushes his earnings over the term of his contract up beside Messi’s, which may be the reason the Argentine now needs to be offered more money.

Should Messi sign a new deal, it will cement a happy outcome for player and club, after it was reported by Reuters via the Guardian that the current World Footballer of the Year should return from injury in their first game of 2014.

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