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 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.

Edinson Cavani Nearing Two-Year Deal with Manchester United

Edinson Cavani is thisclose to switching sides…

Manchester United and the 33-year-old Uruguayan soccer player are close to agreeing to a two-year deal, according to ESPN.

Edinson Cavani,

Cavani, a free agent since leaving Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season, has been offered to every major club in Europe but United are now actively working on an agreement that could see the striker travel to England on Sunday for a medical.

Sources told ESPN that talks accelerated quickly on Saturday with final discussions scheduled for Sunday morning.

Cavani is keen to move to Old Trafford and could sign an initial one-year deal with the option for another 12 months.

He has already held talks with a number of clubs this summer. The first offer arrived from Benfica, although they weren’t able to pay as much as he was hoping to receive.

Atletico MadridReal Madrid and Juventus also weighed up making a move but, for various reasons, dropped out of the running for his signature.

The Uruguay international scored 200 goals in 301 games for PSG following his move from Napoli in 2013.

Neymar Signs with Puma for Long-Term Partnership

Neymar is reppin’ a new brand…

Puma has announced the signing of the 28-year-old Brazilian soccer star after the Paris Saint-Germain player left Nike following a 15-year association.

Neymar’s arrival was announced on the Puma website alongside the banner “The king is back” and “Welcome to the family Neymar JR.”

Neymar wrote in a statement on his Twitter page: “At the beginning of each new season, I take some time to think about my career and the choices I have made. I think about the dreams I had when I started this sport, and the path that lies ahead.

“This will be a different season, a special season. For that reason, as I have done in the past, I decided to write this text.

“I am about to live a unique experience, a new challenge. I consider myself privileged to have had a life filled with unique experiences and wonderful challenges.

“I grew up watching videos of great football legends such as Pele, Cruyff, Matthaus, Eusebio and Maradona … These were the kings of the pitch, the kings of my sport. And they had something in common — a love of the game, a drive to be the best version of themselves and a spirit that unites all. It’s not always about being the best or the greatest but instead, to inspire future generations. That is exactly what I have dreamt of for myself, to give all of me to football because football has given me everything I have. I want to do it my way, using my gift.

“New challenges, new responsibilities, I understand that. I wish to bring back the legacy that those athletes created on the pitch. I was to help bring back memories from each of their football histories and the magic they gave us in their classic leather boots — and through boots like those, leave behind my own legacy. They each played in PUMA, and each of them created their magic in The KING.

“And so now, as I begin this new season, I want the KING to reign on the pitch and inspire generations as it has inspired me and others.

“To be in this project, associating myself to those Kings of football, through KING, it is a dream. For these reasons, from today onward, I have the honour to unite with the brand that helped the biggest legends of football become what they are. Every time I lace my boots, my KING boots, I will do anything to achieve all of my dreams to honour my name and that of all those great ones who wore the KING before me. This will be my PUMA history. The KING is back!”

Sources told ESPN that only four executives knew about the deal to land Neymar and it was “a big secret in the company” that they had been working to sign the player for several months.

He returned to training with PSG on Friday after missing their opening Ligue 1 fixture of the campaign, a 1-0 defeat at Lens, following a positive test for the coronavirus.

Neymar joined PSG from Barcelona in 2017 for a world-record €222 million fee and has won three Ligue 1 titles in Paris. He also helped the French club reach the Champions League final in August, where they were beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich.

During his time at Barca he won the Champions League, FIFA Club World Cup and two La Liga titles.

Lionel Messi: The World’s Highest-Paid Latino on Forbes’ The Celebrity 100 List

Lionel Messi is kickin’ his way to the top of the earnings charts…

The 33-year-old Argentine soccer star, who plays for FC Barcelona, is the top-earning Latinx celebrity on Forbes’ recently released The Celebrity 100 list, which ranks the world’s highest-paid celebrities of 2020.

Lionel Messi

Messi, who has been awarded both FIFA’s Ballon d’Or and the European Golden Shoe for top scorer on the continent a record six times, comes in at No. 5 with earning of $104 million.

His current contract with Barcelona is through 2020-21 and pays him more than $80 million annually. He also has a lifelong deal with Adidas, and he launched his own clothing line and opened his first retail outlet, The Messi Store, in September 2019 in Barcelona.

The World Health Organization (WHO) tapped Messi in March 2020 to help lead a worldwide campaign aimed at stopping the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nipping on Messi’s heels is another soccer star and his former teammate… Neymar.

The 28-year-old Brazilian soccer player comes in at No. 7 on the list with earning of $95.5 million.

Neymar is currently on a five-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain through June 2022 worth $350 million in salary.

His transfer from Barcelona to PSG stands as the most expensive in the world at $263 million, which the French club paid in full ahead of his signing.

He’s the second most popular athlete on social media with a combined 244 million followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Nike‘s Jordan Brand signed Neymar as its first soccer ambassador in 2016. In March 2020 its film unit released a movie about his life.

Jennifer Lopez is this year’s highest-paid Latina on the list.

The 51-year-old Puerto Rican superstar comes in at No. 56 on the list with earnings of $47.5 million.

One of the more popular celebrities when it comes to endorsements, J.Lo has deals with Versace, DSW, Quay sunglasses and her own fragrance.

In 2018, she played her final shows at Las Vegas’ Zappos Theater, grossing more than $100 million in two years–the top Vegas residency by a Latin artist. She tacked on another $55 million in 2019 ticket sales for her ensuing world tour, which included stops in Egypt, Israel and Russia.

Lin-Manuel Miranda makes his first appearance on The Celebrity 100.

The 40-year-old Puerto Rican actor/rapper/lyricist/composer and Broadway star, the creator of the hit musical Hamilton, comes in at No. 62 with earning of $45.5 million.

Disney acquired worldwide rights to the film version of Hamilton in February 2020 for $75 million. And he helped create a $1 million emergency relief fund to benefit artists impacted by COVID-19 in Puerto Rico.

Other Latinx celebrities making the list include Howie Dorough (as a member of Backstreet Boys); Sofia Vergara, the world’s highest-paid actress; Robert Trujillo (as a member of Metallica); tennis star Rafael Nadal; and Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez.

Forbes’ list ranks “front of the camera” stars around the globe using pretax earnings from June 2019 through May 2020 before deducting fees for managers, lawyers and agents. Figures are based on information from Nielsen Music/MRC Data, Pollstar, IMDB, NPD BookScan and ComScore as well as interviews with industry experts and many of the stars themselves.

In total, the 100 celebrities racked in a total of $6.1 billion in pretax earnings, which took a $200 million dip from last year after the pandemic halted — or rather redirected — lots of business models.

Here’s a look at the Latino/a celebrities who made the list this year:

No. 5 Lionel Messi, 33, Argentina, Soccer, $104 million

No. 7 Neymar, 28, Brazil, Soccer, $95.5 million
No. 56 Jennifer Lopez, 51, USA (Puerto Rican), Entertainment, $47.5 million

No. 62 Lin-Manuel Miranda, 40, USA (Puerto Rican), Entertainment, $45.5 million
No. 64 Howie Dorough (Backstreet Boys), 47, USA (Half-Puerto Rican), Music, $45 million
No. 71 Sofia Vergara, 48, Colombia, Entertainment, $43 million

No. 78 Robert Trujillo (Metallica), 55, USA (Half-Mexican)Music, $40.5 million
No. 80 Rafael Nadal, 34, Spain, Tennis, $40 million
No. 91 Canelo Alvarez, 30, Mexico, Boxing, $37 million

Click here for the complete list.

Thiago Silva Agrees to Two-Year Deal with Chelsea F.C.

Thiago Silva is switching sides

The 35-year-old Brazilian professional footballer will sign a two-year deal for Chelsea F.C. this week after leaving Paris Saint-Germain, according to ESPN.

Thiago Silva

The PSG captain’s contract at the French club ran out at the end of the previous campaign, but he played all the Champions League knockout matches — including in the team’s 1-0 final defeat to Bayern Munich — but was not offered a new deal after eight years at the Parc des Princes.

Silva has agreed to personal terms with Chelsea, although minor details are still left to sort out. He’ll reportedly have his medical on Thursday ahead of his official signing.

The big attraction for Chelsea is they won’t have to pay a transfer fee for the former AC Milan defender.

Silva feels he can still play at the top European level for three or four years. He wanted a two-year deal and Chelsea were happy to offer it him.

PSG boss Thomas Tuchel wanted to keep him in Paris but sporting director Leonardo was against it.

Silva had also been offered a two-year deal by Fiorentina, but has opted to join Chelsea rather than return to Serie A.

Neymar Leads Paris Saint-Germain to Coupe de France Win with Sole Goal Against Saint-Etienne

Neymar’s celebrating a big kick…

The 28-year-old Brazilian professional footballer and Paris Saint-Germain forward kicked a goal early in the game to give his team a 1-0 win over 10-man Saint-Etienne on Friday in a near empty stadium.

Neymar & Paris Saint-Germain

Neymar’s goal gave PSG the Coupe de France as French football came out of a four-month break due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Neymar scored on the rebound in the 14th minute after PSG striker Kylian Mbappe sprinted clear and saw his shot blocked by goalkeeper Jessy Moulin, with only 5,000 fans in the 80,000-seater Stade de France due to strict health protocols.

Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron had met the players on the pitch but kept his distance and wore a face mask.

The atmosphere in the run-up to the first professional game in France after the long hiatus was far from festive with only a handful of people around the stadium before the match.

The contest got off to an eventful start with Yvann Macon felling Neymar in the opening seconds to earn a yellow card and St Etienne’s Denis Bouanga hitting the post in the fifth minute.

But it was the Parisians who scored when Neymar pounced on Moulin’s save to fire in.

Mbappe was injured in the 26th minute from a rough challengeby Saint-Etienne captain Loic Perrin, who was sent off.

“We won the final and that is what matter(s),” PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said. His team had lost last year’s final to Stade Rennes on penalties.

Tuchel was also not happy with the way Saint-Etienne had played from the start.

“It was complicated with all the fouls to Thilo Kehrer, Neymar and Mbappe. In the last three matches against Saint-Etienne they get a red card in the first 30 minutes. I don’t know what is being said in their dressing room. It is horrible I can’t understand it.

“We won and we have a lot of things to improve, to talk about and analyze.”

With Ligue 1 champions PSG chasing a quadruple of titles 

this season, the few fans in the stands breathed a sigh of relief when Mbappe returned on crutches to the bench after the interval, joking and laughing with his teammates.

Rhaudeman Santiago Signs with France’s FC Lyon

Rhaudeman Santiago will be kickin’ it in France…

The 26-year-old soccer player, the cousin of Paris Saint-Germainforward Neymar, has signed with FC Lyon, who compete in the French sixth division.

Rhaudeman Santiago aka Rhau

Santiago — known as “Rhau” — went to the Santos academy, like Neymar, and plays on the left wing.

Rhau, who has already arrived in Lyon via Paris, has mostly played in lower leagues in Brazil before joining FC Lyon, who are the third oldest club in France as they were formed in 1893.

FC Lyon are a non-professional club, which is renowned in the area as a very good grassroots club with a lot of their young players then signing for top academies.

Lionel Messi: The World’s Highest Paid Latino Celebrity

Lionel Messi isn’t just making goals… He’s makin’ some serious bank…

Forbes magazine has released its list of the world’s highest-paid celebrities, with the 32-year-old Argentine professional footballer coming in at No. 5 with $104 million, making his the highest-paid Latino celebrity in the world.

Lionel Messi

Messi has been awarded both FIFA‘s Player of the Year and the European Golden Shoe for top scorer on the continent a record six times. His 438 goals, including 36 hat tricks for Barcelona, is a club and La Liga record.

Neymarcomes in at No. 7…

The 28-year-old Brazilian professional footballer, who plays as a forward for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team, had reported earnings of $95.5 million.

Jennifer Lopez is the highest-paid Latina celebrity on Forbes’ list.

The 50-year-old Puerto Rican superstar,one of the more popular celebrities when it comes to endorsements, had earnings of $47.5 million. She has deals with VersaceDSWQuay sunglasses and her own fragrances.

The multi-hyphenate also produced and starred in the 2019 film Hustlers.

Lin-Manuel Miranda has made Forbes’ list for the first time…

The 40-year-old Puerto Rican Broadway star had reported earnings of $45.5 million.

The Hamilton creator and star added to his haul from the Broadway hit in February when Walt Disney paid $75 million for the rights to air the filmed version of his Founding Father musical. 

Other Latino/a celebrities making the list include Howie Dorough (along with his fellow Backstreet Boys), Sofia VergaraRobert Trujillo (along with his fellow Metallica band mates), Rafael Nadal and Canelo Alvarez.

Here’s a look at the Latino/as making this year’s list:

No. 5 Lionel Messi, $104 million
No. 7 Neymar, $95.5 million
No. 56 Jennifer Lopez, $47.5 million 
No. 62 Lin-Manuel Miranda, $45.5 million
No. 64 Backstreet Boys, $45 million
No. 71 Sofia Vergara, $43 million
No. 78 Metallica, $40.5 million
No. 80 Rafael Nadal, $40 million
No. 91 Canelo Alvarez, $37 million

Mauro Icardi Signs Permanent Four-Year Deal with Paris Saint-Germain

Mauro Icardi is making things permanent…

The 27-year-old Argentine professional Inter Milan soccer player, who plays the Argentina national team, has signed a permanent four-year deal with Paris Saint-Germain.

Mauro Icardi

Icardi spent the 2019-20 season in the French capital on loan and the Ligue 1 champions have taken their option to sign him permanently, keeping him in Paris until 2024.

The deal would be worth €50 million euros plus €7m euros in potential add-ons, which is significantly less than the €70m release clause included in his loan agreement, according to ESPN.

Inter Milan recognized that due to the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic, it was fair to lower their asking price. Inter Milan have long wanted to sell the striker, who joined the Nerazzurri seven years ago from Sampdoria.

In a statement on Inter Milan’s website, the club thanked the striker for his contribution to the team during the six seasons he spent with them.

Icardi made his mark on PSG last season, making 31 appearances in the 2019-20 season. He scored 20 goals and provided 4 assists on the team’s road to picking up the Ligue 1 title.

PSG had a 12 point lead on nearest rivals Marseille when the league was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.