Lionel Messi to be announced today?


Lionel Messi is understood to have returned to Spain, with reports suggesting that the Argentine will not be a free agent for much longer. 

The 34-year-old spent a short time on vacation in Ibiza after a lengthy 2020/21 campaign that ended with his first major international trophy win for Argentina, but he is now reportedly back in Spain and Barcelona are seemingly wasting no time in their bid to secure his signature once again. 

Read: Barca 'to pursue' R768m Man City star

Marca has reported that the club and the six-time Ballon d'Or winner are ready to put pen to paper "in a matter of hours" on a new long-term deal that will see him only officially leave the Catalan giants at the age of 39.  

The club and the player reportedly agreed terms weeks ago, on a contract that will include a 50% reduction on his previous salary, but it now seems set to be made official after Messi's return to Spain this week.  

The deal is rumoured to be for five years, but reports suggest that, in the final three years, he could play for a club in the US but remain an ambassador for the Spanish giants. 

Messi has been a free agent since 30 June, when his contract at the cash-strapped club expired. This led to widespread rumours that the forward may join a new team after spending 21 years with the LaLiga side, but Blaugrana president Joan Laporta was reportedly able to convince the forward to stay.

Barca still need to get lower their wage bill per LaLiga's strict salary cap limits, but it was confirmed earlier this week that investment firm CVC (Capital Partners) pumped €2.7 billion (R45 billion) into the Spanish top flight, with each club set to be paid €270 million (R4.5 billion), which will be a huge relief for the Camp Nou club. 

Per Marca, once the new contract has been announced, the talisman will return to training.

Click through the gallery below to see Barca's new 2021/22 home jersey