Lionel Messi set to sign new five-year deal at Barcelona - reports

Argentine great has reportedly accepted a significant reduction in wages

TOPSHOT - Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg football match between Barcelona and Liverpool at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona on May 1, 2019. / AFP / LLUIS GENE

Argentine great Lionel Messi is set to extend his stay at Barcelona by signing a new five-year deal, La Vanguardia newspaper and ESPN reported on Wednesday.

Reports state that "Messi has accepted a significant wage reduction to prolong his stay".

Messi is Barca's all-time top scorer and there was no clarity when his 21-year association with the club, for all purposes, came to an end after his contract expired last season.

The 34-year-old has won 35 titles in 17 seasons with Spanish giants. He helped the club win the Champions League four times, La Liga 10 times, the Copa del Rey seven times and the Spanish Super Cup eight times.

Messi excelled again last season despite making numerous attempts to leave the club. He led the Spanish league in scoring with 30 goals and helped the team win the Copa del Rey title.

Messi's last contract was signed in 2017. It was the most lucrative in world sport according to report in newspaper El Mundo.

Barcelona have been making serious efforts to reduce their wage bill in order to hold on to Messi and adhere to La Liga's financial rules.

Last week, La Liga chief Javier Tebas was quoted by Reuters as saying Barcelona, who have a total debt of more than $1 billion, will not be shown leniency. "If no player leaves, it's impossible," he said.

The club have been trying to rebuild the squad with Junior Firpo, Jean-Clair Todibo and Carles Alena being sold to make way for free signings Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia.

It has been a fairly positive week for Messi, who won his first major international title with Argentina when they beat Brazil in the Copa America final. Messi was named the tournament's joint best player along with Neymar after finishing as the joint top goalscorer.

Updated: July 14th 2021, 3:15 PM