Lionel Messi Rumors: Barcelona Hope to Finalize New Contract This Week

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 4, 2021

FILE - In this file photo dated Thursday, April 29, 2021, Barcelona's Lionel Messi reacts during the Spanish La Liga match against Granada at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain. Lionel Messi and Barcelona are closer to signing a new deal that would keep the Argentina soccer star at the Spanish club through the end of his playing career, according to an unidentified insider Friday July 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort, FILE)
AP Photo/Joan Monfort

Barcelona reportedly hope to finalize Lionel Messi's new five-year contract this week after La Liga agreed to sell 10 percent of its business to CVC Capital Partners for €2.7 billion, which will include a payment of over €250 million to Barca and Real Madrid.

ESPN's Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens reported Wednesday the cash infusion should help Barcelona and Messi wrap up contract talks that have been slowed by the league's financial rules. The Blaugrana want everything in place before they face Juventus for the Joan Gamper Trophy on Sunday.

Messi became a free agent after his previous contract expired June 30.

While he's been available to sign with any club for over a month, there's been no substantiated rumors suggesting he's sought out offers from other clubs. Instead, he helped guide Argentina to the 2021 Copa America title and has been awaiting the chance to sign his new deal with Barca.

The new contract, which will keep him at Camp Nou until he's 39 years old, includes a 50 percent salary reduction as Barcelona spread out the total value across five years to decrease the annual cost, per Sky Sports.

Messi's new deal comes after the club legend attempted to secure a transfer following the 2019-20 term.

In September, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner told Goal's Ruben Uria former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu informed him he'd missed a June 10 deadline for a free transfer and would need a club to trigger a €700 million release clause, which made a move impossible.

"I thought and was sure that I was free to leave, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not," Messi said. "Now they cling to the fact that I did not say it before June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for La Liga in the middle of this awful coronavirus and this disease altered all the season."

Bartomeu stepped down in October, and Joan Laporta, who previously served as president from 2003 through 2010, was elected back into the role in March and made re-signing Messi a top priority.

Barca have also signed Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Emerson and Eric Garcia as they attempt to reinvigorate the squad following a disappointing 2020-21 campaign that saw the club finish third in La Liga and get eliminated in the Champions League's round of 16.

The Blaugrana are scheduled to open the new La Liga season Aug. 15 when they host Real Sociedad.