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.

Vicky Losada Joins Manchester City on Two-Year Deal

Vicky Losada is heading to the City

The 30-year-old Spanish football midfielder and former Barcelona captain has joined Manchester City on a two-year deal, the club has announced.

Vicky Losada

Losada announced in June that she’d leave the Catalan club after 16 years, calling it “the most difficult decision” of her life.

She led Barca to a treble-winning season this year after securing the Primera Iberdrola, the Champions League and the Copa de la Reina.

“It was very hard to me because I’ve been playing for Barca since I was 14 years old. Sometimes you feel like you need a change and close a chapter in my life and when the offer came from England it made things easier for me and also winning the Champions League definitely brought me the security to make the decision,” Losada told ESPN about her decision to move to City.

“I want to be very honest to you, new girls from La Masia came up to the team. They were bringing a very good level and I wanted to get more minutes and it wasn’t happening but I was also so happy at the same time that I was always helping the team.

“I just wanted to be more important and basically happier when I wake up and I have to go to the training ground. So that was changing a little bit so I had my thoughts every night with myself and in the end it was the perfect end to a year that was unforgettable to me.”

Losada came through Barca’s academy system La Masia and spent the majority of her playing career at the club.

However, she did spend a year-and-a-half with Arsenal in the Women’s Super League where she won the league cup and the FA Cup.

She said this time with Arsenal made her eager for a return to the WSL, despite her love for her home side in Spain.

“I said all the time I was missing the English league. All these years, I came back to Barcelona because it was home for me but I am so happy to be coming back to England. It’s true that the weather never got used to that but I think I’ll be able to handle it,” she added.

“I think it is a very competitive league and they have very good players. Every year the best players in the world not just English or British players want to go to the WSL and also I think the structure, I can see it from here. We’re missing a lot of things in the Spanish league — visibility, TV, fans. I really think they’re doing a massive job and they’re looking after women’s football.”

Losada leaves Barca with six league titles, one Champions League title, seven Copa de la Reina titles, one Supercopa Femenina title and eight Copa Catalunya titles.

Sergio Ramos to Undergo Medical Ahead of Joining Paris Saint-Germain as Free Agent

It’s twilight in Paris for Sergio Ramos

The 35-year-old Spanish professional footballer will undergo a medical in Paris on Tuesday ahead of joining Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent, according to ESPN.

Sergio Ramos

Sources added that Ramos, a veteran defender, agreed to join the Ligue 1 giants on a two-year deal.

Ramos announced last month that he’d leave Real Madrid after failing to reach an agreement to extend his 16-year stay in the Spanish capital.

Manchester City and Bayern Munich had shown an interest in acquiring the Spain international, but the experienced centerback preferred PSG‘s project.

Ramos didn’t strike an agreement with Madrid due to discrepancies over the length of the deal. Los Blancos were only willing to offer one year and by the time Ramos agreed to accept the club’s proposal he was told the deadline had expired.

Ramos had wanted a two-year deal. His wages at PSG are set to be lower than what he was earning in Spain and what he would have earned had he stayed at the Bernabeu.

Ramos will land in Paris just hours after the arrival of his former Real Madrid teammate Achraf Hakimi. Hakimi, 22, is expected to join PSG on a €70m transfer from Inter Milan, sources have told ESPN.

The Morocco international posted a message on Twitter on Monday hinting that he was on his way to the French capital.

Pep Guardiola Named Premier League Manager of the Season

Pep Guardiola is celebrating a premier honor…

This year’s Premier League awards have been doled out, with the 50-year-old Spanish professional football manager for Manchester City and former player taking home a trophy.

Pep Guardiola

Guardiola was named Manager of the Season for the 2020-21 period.

He previously won the manager’s award in 2017-18 and again in 2018-19 when he led Man City to consecutive league titles.

Under him, City conceded the fewest goals (32) this season and kept clean sheets in half of their games (19) to finish 12 points clear of second-placed Manchester United.

Guardiola won the award ahead of fellow nominees Marcelo Bielsa (Leeds United), David Moyes (West Ham United), Brendan Rodgers (Leicester City) and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (Manchester United).

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.

Robinho Returning to Santos for Just Above Brazil’s Minimum Wage Rate

Robinho isn’t afraid to earn a lot less to play for his boyhood club…

The 36-year-old Brazilian professional footballer and former Manchester City forward has signed a five-month contract with former club Santos, and he’ll earn $271 (R$1.500) a month, which is just above the country’s minimum wage.

Robinho

Robinho re-joined his boyhood club for a third stint as a free agent, having left Turkish side Istanbul Basaksehir shortly after helping them win their first Super Lig title last season.

“I will play for a minimum wage, but the most important thing is to be here,” Robinho told the club’s official website.

“I am well physically and mentally, obviously there is still a little bit of rhythm [missing], but that over time we will gradually evolve.”

Robinho, who shot to fame after making his professional debut with Santos in 2002, went on to play for Real Madrid, City and AC Milan, among other clubs.

He won two national championships, two Paulista tournaments and the Brazilian Cup in his previous two spells with Santos.

“I have many fond memories here,” Robinho added. “The fans can be certain that I will give my best to help Santos FC on and off the pitch.

Santos FC is going through a difficult financial time. So this is the time for those who can do something. I want to help the club that always gave me everything. Santos FC has already done a lot for me and this return is still little.”

Santos are going through financial difficulties and could soon face a transfer ban from FIFA over unpaid debts.

Chilean club Huachipato are demanding Santos to complete the $3.4m deal over the signing of Venezuelan striker Jefferson Soteldo, while Colombian outfit Atletico Nacional claim they are still owed $774,000 from the sale of defender Felipe Aguilar.

Manchester City Eyeing Nicolas Otamendi Transfer to Benfica

Nicolas Otamendi could be switching sides soon…

The 32-year-old Argentine professional footballer, who plays for Manchester City, could be heading to Portugal’s Benfica team.

Nicolas Otamendi

Manchester City is reportedly close to signing Benfica defender Ruben Dias, according to ESPN, that would send Otamendi to Benfica.

Pep Guardiola is hoping to bolster ManCity’s defense with Dias’ arrival. The 23-year-old, who has been capped 19 times by Portugal, is set to arrive in Manchester this week to finalize the move.

Otamendi has yet to feature for Guardiola’s side this season. City are prepared to let the Argentina international leave after five years at the club following his move from Valencia in 2015.

Otamendi has been selected for the Argentina team by coach Lionel Scaloni for next month’s World Cup qualifiers.

David Silva Signs with Real Sociedad

David Silva is ready to kick things up in Spain…

Real Sociedad have signed the 34-year-old Spanish footballer and former Manchester City midfielder as a free agent, the La Liga side has announced.

David Silva

Silva recently left Man City after a decade of service, in which he won 11 major trophies including four Premier League titles.

Manchester City had recently announced that they’d be honoring Ruiz by building a statue of him outside the Etihad Stadium.

La Real, who finished sixth in La Liga, were searching for a new playmaker after Martin Odegaard ended a one-year loan spell to return to Real Madrid.

Silva had been linked with a move to Italian club Lazio, but instead returns to his home country, having begun his professional career at Valencia.

In a social media post, Silva said goodbye to Man City fans:

“I look back and it’s clear I could not have made a better decision than to accept City’s proposal to join their project back in 2010,” he said.

“Manchester City and I have grown together. In 10 years, I have developed personally and professionally. I have celebrated many victories and titles and lived through epic moments.

“I have seen my lovely child, Mateo, born and I have even started to feel comfortable under heavy rain! City are a fantastic family. I won’t ever forget the way they threw themselves into helping me when I suffered the hardest moments of my life, offering me support and empathy.”

Manchester City to Pay Tribute to David Silva with Statue

David Silva may be leaving Manchester City, but his likeness will live on…

Manchester City has announced that they’ll erect a statue of the 34-year-old Spanish footballer outside Etihad Stadium as a tribute to the player as he leaves after 10 years with the club.

City’s Champions League exit to Lyon on Sunday marked his final game after he announced in June that he’d leave Manchester at the end of the 2019-20 season.

Silva won 11 trophies with the club including four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, five League Cups and three Community Shield trophies.

“David Silva is a transformational player; a quiet leader who has acted quietly and deliberately and inspired everyone around him, from the youngest academy player to his senior teammates over the past 10 years,” City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarakn said in a statement.

“He has put a stamp on the team, on this club, its history and even the Premier League as a whole. In doing so he has been instrumental to the beautiful football philosophy you see today. He was the start of it.”

City announced in 2019 that a similar statue would be erected of former City captain Vincent Kompany, with both statues are set to be unveiled in 2021.

Capped 125 times by Spain, Silva won the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championship in 2008 and 2012.

He told ESPN last year that he’d like to end his career playing for Las Palmas, his hometown club on the island of Gran Canaria.

“Ten years for me is enough. It’s the perfect time for me,” he said of his departure.

“Initially, City were talking about two years, but I decided to sign [for] another one, so I finished at 10 years.

“It completes the cycle. It’s a nice round figure. I can never see myself playing against City for another team. So 10 years — that’s it.”

Manchester City Completes Signing of Ferran Torres

It’s official… Ferran Torres is headed to Manchester City.

The team has completed the signing of the 20-year-old Spanish professional footballerfrom Valencia CF, the club has announced.

Ferran Torres

Torres will move to the Etihad for a fee of €23 million plus add-ons, according to ESPN.

Torres, who has been capped six times with Spain’s Under-21 team, is Pep Guardiola‘s first signing of the summer.

Valencia were resigned to losing Torres, who had just one year left on his contract. He made 97 appearances for the La Liga side and scored nine goals.

He was made a prime target for Guardiola and director of football Txiki Begiristain following the sale of Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich.

“I am so happy to be joining City,” Torres said. “Every player wants to be involved in attacking teams and Manchester City are one of the most attacking in world football.”

“Pep encourages a really open, aggressive style, which I love, and he is a manager with a proven track record of improving players. To have him overseeing my development is a dream.

“City have won plenty of trophies in the last 10 years and I hope I can play a role in continuing that success.”