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.

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.

Martin to Perform at This Year’s Mega Bash Concert

Ricky Martin is ready for a Mega December…

The 44-year-old Puerto Rican singer is among the Latin superstars confirmed to perform at this year’s Mega Bash concert in New Jersey.

Ricky Martin

Martin joins a lineup that includes JuanesEnrique Iglesias, WisinJencarlos CanelaSilvestre Dangond and Ozuna.

The show, produced by the Felix Cabrera Concert Series and SBS — home to New York’s top-rated Spanish language station Mega 97.9 and bilingual streaming app La Música — is set to take place on December 2, at the Prudential Center in Newark.

“Our goal has always been to produce events without precedents, and on December 2 we will be reuniting these big figures for the first time ever at the Prudential Center,” said Felix Cabrera in a statement.

“It’s our pleasure to bring the Mega Bash production to New Jersey with the best music and technology for concerts. That way, our loyal Mega 97.9 listeners can enjoy a good quality concert,” added Eric Garcia, SBS’ Radio Revenue Chief & New York General Manager.

Pre-sale tickets will be available for purchase as of today.

Garcia to Pen the English Remake of the Spanish Heist Thriller “25 Kilates”

Eric Garcia has landed a 25-carat project…

The Latino writer /screenwriter has signed on to pen 25 Carat, the English-language remake of the Spanish heist thriller 25 Kilates for Kamala Films and producer Guy Stodel.

Eric Garcia

Garcia, whose 2003 novel Matchstick Men was made into a film starring Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell and directed by Ridley Scott, was the screenwriter, with Garrett Lerner, of the 2010’s Repo Men, based on Garcia’s novel The Repossession Mambo.

Written and directed by Patxi Amezcua, 25 Kilates was released in 2009 and centered on a petty thief and a mob enforcer who hatch a daring plan to break free from the criminal underworld in Barcelona. The film is also a love story following two desperate people who are forced to trust one another.

Garcia’s acclaimed Anonymous Rex trilogy was turned into a TV movie in 2004. Recently, he wrote an adaptation of John Searles‘ thriller novel Strange but True, to be directed by Alex and David Pastor later this year.

Garcia’s Finishing School For Boys Novel Headed to MTV

He’s already seen his novels adapted into a feature films like Matchstick Men and Repo Man… But Eric Garcia could soon see one of his popular works brought to life as a television series.

MTV has placed a pilot order for the Miami-born writer’s Cassandra French’s Finishing School For Boys, a drama based on Garcia’s chick-lit satire novel of the same name. The author wrote the script for the small screen drama, which is being described as another Heathers.

Eric Garcia

The series—executive produced by Garcia and actress Krysten Ritter—centers on Cassie French, a 22-year-old overachiever who lands her dream job as a lawyer for a Hollywood studio but can’t find a guy ready for a real, mature relationship. After the latest disappointment, she locks a guy up in her basement in order to train him to become the perfect gentleman.

Cassandra French's Finishing School for Boys

This is the latest scripted pilot order for MTV, which has been aggressively expanding its slate of scripted series. The network has Teen Wolf and Awkward set to return this summer, and another freshman series, I Just Want My Pants Back, looking good for renewal with solid ratings.

Garcia is currently writing Wheel Of Time for Universal and The Prize Of Peril for Sony.