Barcelona ‘in race to announce Lionel Messi’s new contract in time for Juventus clash’

Barcelona ‘in race to announce Lionel Messi’s new contract in the first week of August and in time for their clash with Juventus’ as money-stressed Catalans try to balance the books by selling fringe players

  • Barcelona wants to confirm Lionel Messi’s new contract in early August
  • The Argentine star has been a free agent since his contract expired in June
  • He has made a deal to stay, but the Catalans need to balance their finances
  • They want to announce Messi’s contract for their friendly against Juventus

Barcelona are reportedly in a race to announce Lionel Messi’s new contract in the first week of August so that the Argentine star can play in their friendly against Juventus.

Messi has been a free agent since his £500,000-a-week contract expired on June 30, but has agreed to a 50 percent pay cut to remain a Barca player for another five years.

But due to the Catalans’ financial difficulties, they must balance their books and cut their wage bills to meet LaLiga’s strict salary cap before they can register Messi as a player.

Barcelona are in a race to announce Lionel Messi’s new contract in the first week of August

According to Spanish outlet Sport, the 34-year-old is scheduled to return for season prep on August 2.

But the pressure is on to get Messi’s deal through for their friendly against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juve on August 8.

The Catalans take on Serie A in the Joan Gamper Trophy at the Camp Nou and the report claims Barca want the deal closed in time for Messi to appear.

Barca president Joan Laporta insisted they were making good progress during the official unveiling of new signing Memphis Depay last week.

He told the the official website of the club: “The player has always said he wants to stay and we are making good progress with the negotiations.

Barca want to announce Messi's new deal for a friendly against Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus

Barca want to announce Messi’s new deal for a friendly against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus

‘(Rafael) Yuste and (Mateu) Alemany work very hard. What we all want is for Messi to stay at Barca. To stay for many years and play together with talented football players like Depay.

“We are very pleased with the attitude of both parties who need an operation like this. Leo is on vacation now, but he has a whole team working to get him a contract that suits everyone.”

Along with Depay, Barcelona have also signed Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia and Emerson Royal during the summer transfer window so far.

Laporta has insisted that their new additions can be registered despite the restrictions of LaLiga’s salary cap.

Barca president Joan Laporta (left) insisted they are making good progress on Messi .'s deal

Barca president Joan Laporta (left) insisted they are making good progress on Messi .’s deal

“The players we attract can be registered. We know of the limitations that result from what we have inherited. It’s not easy, but we’re working hard with LaLiga.

“Alemany does an extraordinary job, as do Yuste and the secretary. We have to follow the rules. We are confident we can either lower the wage bill or find a formula acceptable to LaLiga.

“LaLiga is on our side and so is the president. He is the first to want players like Memphis to play for Barca, but there are rules and we want to obey them.”

Messi and Ronaldo have a long rivalry with the pair who have competed for the Ballon d’Or for the past 14 years.

Ronaldo has won the award five times since 2008, while Messi has won six.

Barca have already seen five players leave this summer and more could follow – Antoine Griezmann, Samuel Umtiti, Miralem Pjanic, Martin Braithwaite and Neto, all of whom have been linked to moves.

Ronaldo’s future is also uncertain as the Portuguese star enters the final year of his Juve contract.

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