Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is to sign a new four-year deal that will keep him with the Spanish club until 2021.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who has been with the side since the age of 13, was entering the final 12 months of his current contract. One of the most successful footballers in the world, Messi scored 37 times in La Liga last season. In signing his new contract, he will follow in the footsteps of fellow teammates and strikers Luis Suarez and Neymar.
The 30-year-old Argentinian is expected to remain Barca’s highest earner. Local media reports indicate his buyout deal has been raised to 300 million euros.
He married his 29-year-old childhood sweetheart Antonella Roccuzzo on Friday (June 30) in their northern Argentinian hometown, Rosario.
News of the new contract comes just under two weeks after prosecutors in Spain said they were happy for the star striker’s 21-month prison sentence for tax fraud to be replaced with a fine. A spokeswoman confirmed that prosecutors had said they were open to Messi being fined 400 euros per day for the duration of the sentence, which was an option that had also been proposed by his defence team. That would bring the total fine to 255,000 euros. A judge will make a final decision on the motion.
In 2016, Messi and his father were each found guilty of three counts of tax fraud totaling 4.7 million euros. Initially, fines of two million euros for the player and 1.5 million for his father were added to their sentences.