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Soccer: Lionel Messi, Barcelona agree to 5-year deal, reduced pay

Soccer: Lionel Messi, Barcelona agree to 5-year deal, reduced pay
Barcelona's Lionel Messi agreed to a new pact with the La Liga club, which keeps him under contract for the next five seasons. Photo by Sascha Steinbach/EPA-EFE

July 14 (UPI) -- Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona agreed on a five-year contract, with the star striker set to receive reduced wages to remain with the Spanish La Liga soccer club.

Sources told ESPN, Sport and Catalan newspaper L'Esportiu about the deal Wednesday. Messi's previous contract with Barcelona expired in late June.

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The six-time Ballon d'Or winner joined Barcelona's youth program in 2000. He started his senior career with Barcelona's first team in 2004.

His previous four-year deal with Barcelona was worth nearly $600 million.

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Messi, 34, scored 38 goals in 47 games last season. He scored 30 times in La Liga, three times in the Copa del Rey and five times in the Champions League.

Messi also paced Argentina with a tournament-best four goals and five assists through their run to the Copa America title, his first major international crown.

Messi's 643 career goals for Barcelona are the most in team history.

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His new contract comes amid many rumors about a potential move to MLS and other soccer leagues. Messi told Barcelona he wanted to leave the club last year, but ultimately stayed after he failed to void his contract. He has said he plans to end his career at the La Liga club.

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Barcelona is expected to announce the new contract in the coming days. The club's spending limit dropped from more than $700 million to about $410 million since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which led to pay reductions throughout La Liga.

Barcelona's salary cap is expected to decrease again for the 2021-22 season.

RELATED Real Madrid holds off Barcelona, Lionel Messi in El Clasico soccer rivalry

Barcelona will play Gimnastic in a friendly at 1 p.m. EDT July 21 at Johan Cruyff Stadium in Barcelona.

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