Spanish media outlets reported Wednesday that Barcelona and Lionel Messi have reached an agreement in principle that will see the Argentina national team captain remain at the Camp Nou for the next five years, though on a reduced wage.
Messi, who earlier this month finally landed a major international trophy with Argentina when they beat rivals Brazil to win the Copa América, "will sign a five-season contract with a release clause of 600 million euros (US$709 million)," according to Catalan sports daily L'Esportiu.
"The player will reduce his wage by 50 percent. Now it just remains for the lawyers to look over the agreement and give it the OK. Once that happens [his] continuation will be official," said Madrid-based sports daily Marca.
According L'Esportiu, the 34-year-old will earn in the region of 20 million euros basic next season (US$23.6 million, or more than 384,000 euros a week) with the Catalan club, which he has led to 10 league crowns as well as four Champions Leagues.
Last season was a comparative disappointment as the club could only land the Spanish Cup and exited in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Last summer Messi sought to leave Barca as a free agent via a clause in his contract before agreeing to see out the final year as the club threatened to go to court.
There had been speculation that the Albiceleste would sign on for two years and then potentially head to Major League Soccer, although friend and former Barça teammate Neymar has said he would love to team up with him again at Paris Saint Germain.
"Finally, both parties saw fit to extend their link for a longer period of time," reported Barcelona-based sports daily Sport.
Another Barcelona sports paper Mundo Deportivo suggested the longer contract length was part of a quid pro quo taking into account a curtailed salary structure as Barcelona battle crippling debts.
Several of the papers said an official announcement on the deal would follow within days.
With Barcelona labouring under debts of several hundred million euros, Spanish media made much earlier this year of the reported 555 million euros paid Messi over four seasons from November 2017 to the end of last month.
National daily El Mundo splashed in January on what it termed "Messi's pharaonic contract which is ruining Barca" – that sum including image rights and a series of performance-related bonuses with the player reportedly earning a net 297 million euros.
The Argentine star is currently on holiday in Miami, after spending a few days in his homeland after the Copa América triumph.