Barcelona: Lionel Messi expected to sign new contract later this week

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Lionel Messi could sign his new Barcelona contract in the latter part of the week. He could also mark his new era at Barcelona with the Joan Gamper Trophy match.

Messi arrived back in Barcelona after his post-Copa America holiday on Wednesday night. It is not clear if he'll be ready to face Juventus in the pre-season friendly. Messi still hasn't trained and is not technically employed by Juventus. However, his intention is to attend the game at Barca’s Johan Cruyff Stadium where he could give the traditional preseason speech of captain. Last month Messi verbally agreed on a new five-year deal that will see his wages cut by 50 percent, the final details of which were completed in the last few days thanks to a new injection of cash into La Liga from CVC investments. Barca could receive up to PS230m from a PS2.3bn package. 90 percent will be split between the clubs according to reports in Spain. This would significantly increase what had been a tight budget. And this means Messi, still free after his previous contract expired on July 1, is now officially a Barca player. Barcelona was struggling with reducing its wage bill to comply with La Liga's Financial Fair Play rules for this coming season. Sergi Roberto, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, and Sergio Busquets have been in negotiations about reducing salaries by 40 percent in return for contract extensions. They have also been trying to sell several high earners including Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti, and Martin Braithwaite but - again - have not yet found solutions for any of them. La Liga wage caps are calculated based on the financial health of a club. To avoid future financial penalties, they must comply with their cap. Barca's budget for 2021-22 was significantly reduced by the Covid-19 outbreak. CVC has made an investment that has alleviated the pressure. However, they still have to restructure their wage bill in order for the club to remain stable long-term. Barca's opening La Liga fixture against Real Sociedad is scheduled for 12 days. Messi will then begin his 18th season as a Barcelona footballer.

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