Lionel Messi Reportedly Agrees to New Five-Year-Deal with FC Barcelona

Not so fast! Lionel Messi may not be going anywhere…

The 34-year-old Argentine superstar footballer and FC Barcelona have reportedly reached an agreement for the forward to sign a new five-year deal with the Catalan club, according to ESPN.

Lionel MessiSources added that Messi has accepted a significant wage reduction to prolong his stay.

Messi was a free agent after his contract at Barca expired, and he had courted interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City since first revealing a desire to end his 20-year relationship with Barca last summer.

Messi’s previous contract, which was worth over €500 million ($594m) over four years, expired at the stroke of midnight on June 30.

However, with the return of Joan Laporta as president in March, Messi grew more open to staying at Camp Nou. An official announcement is expected in the coming days.

Laporta had hoped to finalize an agreement before Messi’s previous terms expired. Barca’s financial problems made that impossible, though, with their gross debt over €1 billion. Cutbacks have been essential, in terms of transferring players out, reducing the wage bill and getting Messi to accept a lower salary.

La Liga president Javier Tebas has warned Barca they will not be allowed to register Messi’s new deal if they are unable to reduce spending to comply with the league’s Financial Fair Play rules. Barca’s spending limit has been reduced from over €600m to €347m since the coronavirus pandemic, with further reductions expected to be imposed for the upcoming season.

Therefore, to register Messi’s new deal, in addition to new signings Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Emerson Royal, Barca need to continue reducing the wage bill and moving players on. With that in mind, sources at the club refuse to rule out the departure of Antoine Griezmann, a €120m signing in 2019.

Messi is on holiday with his family after his Copa America glory with Argentina last weekend, which was his first senior trophy with his national team.

He will link up with Ronald Koeman‘s squad later in the summer, with Barca’s league campaign kicking off on August 15 against Real Sociedad at Camp Nou.

Messi had first expressed a desire to leave Barca last August after the 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League. His relationship with then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu had reached a breaking point. In a September 2020 interview with Goal, after Barca had blocked his departure, Messi called Bartomeu a “liar” and said the board had been “making things up as they go along” and “plugging holes” for years.

Bartomeu, facing a vote of no confidence, resigned last October and was eventually replaced by Laporta in March. Laporta has a good relationship with Messi and his family. He was Barca’s president when Messi made his first-team debut and when he signed his first professional contract with the club.

Sources told ESPN in April that Laporta was working on a contract renewal for Messi that included the option of playing in Major League Soccer before returning to Barcelona.

In public and in private, Laporta had always maintained that he was “convinced” he could persuade Messi to stay. The club have already made a series of signings this summer, bringing in Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia, as well as recalling Emerson Royal.

Messi first joined Barca’s academy in 2000 and has gone on to play 778 games for the club, breaking Xavi Hernandez‘s appearance record last season. He has scored 672 goals, another club record, and has helped Barca win, among other trophies, 10 La Liga titles and the Champions League on four occasions.

Sergio Aguero Finalizing Deal with FC Barcelona

Sergio Aguero could be switching sides very soon…

FC Barcelona is finalizing the signing of the 32-year-old Argentine professional footballer on a free transfer this summer, according to ESPN.

Sergio Aguero

Barca have offered Aguero a two-year contract and sources say the Argentina international could arrive to the Camp Nou after the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea on May 29.

Aguero, who will turn 33 next month, has agreed to considerably reduce his wages and will join as a free agent once his contract with Manchester City expires on June 30.

Barca have been looking for a No. 9 since Luis Suarez‘s departure to Atletico Madrid last summer.

Club president Joan Laporta sees Aguero’s potential arrival as a great opportunity for Barca because of the former Atletico star’s experience and that no transfer fee is required.

Barca came close to signing Aguero in 2014 but decided instead to acquire Suarez.

Aguero has other important offers on the table, and his willingness to lower his wages to arrive to the Camp Nou is valued by the club, according to a source.

Barca are convinced that in the short term, Aguero will outperform Martin Braithwaite, who has scored seven goals this season. The Denmark international is expected to be placed on the transfer list this summer.

Barca also believe that Aguero’s signing would help persuade his friend and Argentina teammate Lionel Messi to renew his contract.

Messi, whose contract expires next month, has yet to sign a new deal with Barca.

Joan Laporta Elected New President of FC Barcelona

Joan Laporta is returning to Camp Nou

The 58-year-old Spanish lawyer has been elected the new president of FC Barcelona, returning to the post he previously held from 2003 to 2010.

Joan Laporta

Barca members voted Laporta into power on Sunday ahead of rival candidates Victor Font and Toni Freixa. The club called the election on Sunday night, with Laporta winning with 30,184 votes and Font coming in second and Freixa third with 16,679 and 4,769 votes, respectively.

Barca said 51,765 out of 109,531 eligible members had voted in the election, which was postponed from January due to coronavirus restrictions in Catalonia.

Among those to vote were first-team players Lionel MessiSergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, as well as the club’s former coach and current Spain boss Luis Enrique.

“I want to thank all the members for coming out to vote what has been the most important election in the club’s history due to [the effects of] the coronavirus pandemic, which has changed our lives,” Laporta said in a brief speech.

“I want to thank the members that have supported our campaign. This has been a celebration of democracy and of Barcelona. I also want to pay special thanks to Johan Cruyff, who’s no longer with us. I am sure he’s helped us.

“Barcelona is a huge family, and we will overcome the difficulties together. We will achieve the objectives that we have set out.”

Laporta takes over at a critical moment in the club’s history. Gross debt has risen to €1.2 billion during the coronavirus pandemic, with players forced to accept pay cuts, and star player Messi is out of contract in June and will walk away for free if new terms cannot be agreed upon.

Laporta said the fact that Messi voted on Sunday was “significant.”

“Today, 20 years ago, Messi made his debut for Barca’s youth teams,” he added. “To see the best player in the world, the player in the history of football, coming to vote, is a sign of what we have said throughout the campaign: that Messi loves Barca.

“The best player in the world loves Barca, and that is very significant. We’re going to encourage him to continue with the club, which is what we all want.”

Barcelona’s Luis Suarez Gets All-Clear to Return to the Pitch

Luis Suarez is officially back in commission…

The 33-year-old Uruguayan professional footballer and Barcelona striker has been given the green light to return to action almost five months after undergoing a knee operation

 Luis Suarez

Suarez last played for Barca in a 3-2 defeat to Atletico Madrid on January 9 and underwent surgery three days later to repair a problem in his right knee.

Suarez would have missed the remainder of the season had La Liga not been halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The striker’s return will be a boost for Barca manager Quique Setien, with Suarez having scored 11 goals and set up seven more in 17 league appearances before he sustained the injury.

Barcelona trained at the Camp Nou stadium for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown on Saturday.

Barca are set to return to action against relegation-threatened Mallorca on June 13.

Barca hold a two-point lead over rivals Real Madrid at the top of La Liga with 58 points after 27 games. Their last game in the league was a 1-0 victory over Real Sociedad on March 7.

Barcelona Expresses Interest in Eric Garcia

There’s growing interest in Eric Garcia… 

Futbol Club Barcelona has enquired about the 19-year-old Spanish footballer’s situation at Manchester City as they line up a potential move to bring the defender back to Camp Nou, according to ESPN.

Eric Garcia

Manchester City was quick to knock back Barca‘s initial approach, with high-ranking executives at the English club making it clear that Garcia isn’t for sale. 

Team manager Pep Guardiola is especially fond of Garcia and, while ManCity hope to sign a new centerback this summer, they also want to keep him involved as part of the first-team squad.

However, there is also an understanding at the club that the uncertainty over Guardiola’s long-term future could become a problem at some point. Players are also in the dark and with two years left on his contract, Garcia is in a strong negotiating position.

This provoked Barca to ask about his availability during recent talks between the two clubs regarding a possible swap deal involving right-backs Nelson Semedo and Joao Cancelo.

Garcia was considered one of the brightest prospects in Barca’s La Masia academy when he decided to leave in 2017 to join Premier League champions Manchester City,

Guardiola handed him his full debut in a League Cup game against Leicester in 2018 and he has made 11 appearances this season, starting twice in the league and once in the Champions League.

He’s also been capped five times by Spain under-21s and Barca have followed his development closely since he left three years ago.

A number of different sources at Barca said the club view Garcia as a “good fit” centerback for the team’s style of football. He was brought up on the club’s philosophy and one of his major strengths is his ability on the ball.

Barca, who missed out on Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus last summer, have been searching for a central defender for a long time as they contemplate a future without Gerard Pique, who turned 33 in February.

Manchester City’s reluctance to sell makes a move for Garcia this summer unlikely, especially as Barca expect to be less active in the transfer market due to the effects the coronavirus pandemic has had on their budget. They will focus on their main target, Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez, and will not have money left over to invest elsewhere.

But sources tell ESPN that Barca will not give up on Barcelona native Garcia in the long-term and will continue to monitor his situation as he moves into the final two years of his contract at the Etihad Stadium.

FC Barcelona Stepping Up Efforts to Bring Neymar Back Into the Fold

Will Neymar return to Spain?

Futbol Club Barcelona will reportedly step up the team’s efforts to sign the 27-year-old Brazilian professional footballer next summer, according to ESPN.

Neymar

The Barca hierarchy believes that Neymar is the natural replacement for Lionel Messi. The club believe it’ll be easier to bring Neymar back to Camp Nouonce Messi is gone, given that Neymar has already played there and there aren’t too many players at his level.

The Brazil international retains a good relationship with Barca despite his acrimonious exit to Paris Saint-Germainfor a world-record €222 million fee.

Mundo Deportivo‘s front page earlier this week said Barca will attempt to sign the forward depending on his performances during the second half of the season, when PSG will look to finally win the Champions League.

Neymar has a tense relationship with the French champions, who refused to let him join Barca last summer despite the club’s best efforts.

PSG’s owners continue to make things difficult for Barca, which could go to FIFAto decide a fee, given the player has been at the club for three years and has no release clause.

Yerry Mina Signs Lucrative Deal with Barcelona FC

Yerry Mina is headed to Barcelona…

The 23-year-old Colombian professional footballer has agreed to a deal with Barcelona FC.

Yerry Mina

Mina moves to the Camp Nou for a fee of €11.8 million, and the Colombian’s five-and-a-half-year contract includes a €100m release clause.

Barca had an option to sign Mina for €9m after the 2018 World Cup, but have decided to fast-track the transfer due to Javier Mascherano‘s pending move to Chinese Super League side Hebei Fortune.

As a result, they have had to pay Palmeiras €2.5m more than had originally been agreed for the deal to be completed this summer.

Mina arrives to provide competition for Samuel Umtiti, Gerard Pique and Thomas Vermaelen in defense.

The Catalan club said in a statement: “He will bring a physical presence as his 1.95 metre frame suggests but he is also a quick, ball-playing defender. The Colombian, who is joining from Palmeiras, uses his aerial prowess to impose himself and score goals.”

Mina has won nine caps for Colombia, scoring three goals, and becomes the first-ever player from his homeland to represent Barcelona.

He joined Palmeiras in 2016 from Bogota-based Santa Fe, who are in line to receive a small windfall from the transfer.

Former Colombia international Faustino Asprilla says Mina is more than ready to take the leap to the Camp Nou, comparing him to former Barca and Juventus defender Lilian Thuram.

“Mina’s ready to play for Barcelona,” Asprilla said last month. “He already plays for Colombia, he’s good on the ball, quick and dominates in the air. He would adapt quickly and he has a lot of character. He reminds me of Thuram.”

Lionel Messi Signs New Contract with Barcelona Until 2021

Lionel Messi isn’t going anywhere…

The 30-year-old Argentine soccer star has ended speculation about his future by signing a new contract with Futbol Club Barcelona until 2021.

Lionel Messi

Messi’s previous deal was due to expire at the end of the season, but this is the ninth professional contract the Argentina international has signed since he moved to Camp Nou and commits him to the club until he is 34.

Barca announced the news in an official club statement, which read: “FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi signed on Saturday morning a new contract that will keep the Argentinian superstar at the Club through the 2020/21 season.

“The buyout clause was set at €700m. Thus, by the time the new deal expires, Messi will have spent 17 years with the first team.”

On his official Twitter account, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said: “We are in luck with the Barça players. We continue to enjoy the best player in the history of football.”

Messi avoided the chance to clear up the doubts about his Barcelona contract situation as he accepted the European Golden Shoe award on Friday.

Barcelona had already announced that Messi had agreed to a new deal until 2021 in July but the forward had not yet signed the contract himself.

There had been some concern over his future as Barca allowed him to edge closer to the end of his deal.

At various points throughout the last year he was linked with a move away from Catalonia, with a number of clubs reported to be monitoring the situation, including Manchester City.

However, Barca always remained optimistic that he would renew, telling ESPN FC in November that they were confident he would pen a new deal.

Messi joined Barca in 2001 from Newell’s Old Boys, made his first-team debut against Espanyol in 2004 and has since gone on to win 30 trophies with the club, including eight La Ligas and four Champions Leagues.

Messi scored the first of his club record 523 goals — they have come in just 602 matches — against Albacete in May 2005 and has since claimed the Ballon d’Or on five occasions, more than any other player.

Roca Named New Bengaluru Football Club Head Coach

It’s the start of an Indian summer for Albert Roca

The 53-year-old Spanish futbol coach has been named the new head coach of the Bengaluru Football Club.

Albert Roca

He joins the Indian champions on a two-season deal after the departure of Englishman Ashley Westwood.

Roca was most recently in charge of the El Salvador national team. He’s perhaps best known as Frank Rijkaard‘s long-time assistant at Barcelona and Saudi Arabia.

As a player, the former central defender spent two seasons in La Liga and more than a decade in the Spanish second tier.

“I’m very satisfied to have signed with Bengaluru FC,” Roca told the AFC.

“They are the champions of India, have fantastic supporters and most importantly, have a great support system and a management that is always hands on and wants to stay at the top. I want to assure our supporters that we will always give it our best. I want the supporters to be happy about the way we play.”

Roca was in charge of El Salvador for two years from 2014 and faced up to Vicente Del Bosque‘s Spain, losing 2-0 in the United States.

He worked under Rijkaard at the Camp Nou between 2003-08 when Barcelona won two La Liga titles and the 2005-06 Champions League crown.

His first competitive matches for Bengaluru will be against Tampines Rovers on September 14 and 21 over two legs in the final eight of the AFC Cup.

Neymar Expresses Interest in Extending Contract with FC Barcelona

Neymar doesn’t want to move…

The 23-year-old Brazilian soccer star said he wants to extend his contract with FC Barcelona after scoring more goals in Saturday’s 4-0 La Liga win against Real Sociedad at Camp Nou.

Neymar

La Liga leaders Barcelona strolled to victory against the Basque side — with Neymar and Luis Suarez scoring in the first half, and the Brazilian netting his second after the break before Lionel Messi wrapped up the scoring late on.

The latest display from the Catalan side’s superstar attacking trio showed just how well they dove-tail on the pitch, and comes amid further speculation of behind-the-scenes negotiations about a new deal that would tie reported Manchester United target Neymar to Barca for a further three years until 2021.