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Lionel Messi is set to be offered an incredible 10-year Barcelona contract - but with the twist that his salary will be cut in half and he could still go on loan to an MLS club if he wishes.
Barca's greatest ever player almost left the club last summer and the Catalan giants want to avoid similar drama by re-signing Messi - but at the same time, Barcelona have an eye-watering debt said to be around €1 billion to consider.
So their solution, as reported by Deportes Cuatro, is to sign the 33-year-old to a 10-year deal that will take him beyond his playing days.
The theory is that Messi receives long-term financial security to make up for the pay cut, while Barcelona ensure that the Argentine sees out his playing career at the club and can then transition into another role, either an ambassador or a club executive.
There are less than nine weeks of Messi's current contract at the Camp Nou left, so the club risk losing their iconic No 10 if a deal isn't signed soon.
However if the details of Messi's salary leaked by L'Equipe earlier this year are to be believed, he is currently paid a weekly wage of £2.1 million. That works out at an astonishing £108.2 million per year.
So it's understandable that Barcelona want to halve that salary without giving Messi license to walk away - and one of the elements of the deal is that, while Messi would stay at the Liga club in the short term, he would be allowed a season in the MLS at the end of his career if he wished.
According to the Times, the new contract is on the table following extensive talks between club president Joan Laporta and Messi's father.
The report adds that Messi is desperate to win a Champions League title one more time and that the pay cut is more appealing if it helps the club land another star name that could help Barcelona achieve this.
Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and clubs in the US have all been linked with signing Messi.
But if Laporta gets his way, Barcelona's record goalscorer will be signed to the club until 2031 at least.
All imagery: PA Images
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