Lionel Messi ‘agrees new two-year deal at Barcelona before linking up with David Beckham’s Inter Miami’ – reports
The future of the six-time Ballon d'Or winner had looked to be one of the chief subplots heading into this summer's transfer window, with a host of clubs – thought to include Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain – said to be circling in the event that the Argentine star once again attempts to engineer a move away from Catalonia.
Messi prompted a feeding frenzy among Europe's elite clubs last summer when he announced his intention to leave his boyhood club, citing poor performances on the pitch as well as distractions inside the boardroom.
He ultimately recanted his request when it appeared that the bickering between the two parties would sooner lead to a court room than it would the training pitch of another club.
Should Messi once again signal his discontent in Barcelona, though, it would almost certainly lead to a host of top clubs attempting to secure his signature – but those hopes might well be dashed amid reports from the Spanish press that he is on the verge of a agreeing a new two-year contract to stay at the Spanish giants.
According to Sport, Messi will sign a deal to keep him at the club for two more years before he joins Beckham's upstart Major League Soccer franchise, Inter Miami.
Once that deal reaches its conclusion, the report indicates that Messi will return to the Camp Nou for an ambassadorial role to promote the Barcelona brand across the globe.
It is understood that Messi's new deal will see him earn less than the terms of his existing contract but the details – such as the move to Miami and the subsequent ambassadorial role – are thought to have persuaded him to shelve any plans for moving to a European rival.
Speaking earlier this year, Messi outlined his ambition to one day play in the US but stated that he wished to return to Barca in some capacity – a request that appears to have been delivered upon in the new contract.
"My plan is to give all I can for the club at the moment," Messi told La Sexta, adding that he is "not thinking too far ahead in the short-term."Also on rt.com ‘I would have liked that shirt’: Lionel Messi names not asking Brazil legends Ronaldo & Roberto Carlos for swap as greatest regret
"I would like to play in the United States and experience life and the league there, but ultimately come back to Barcelona in some capacity.
This news will also likely produce a sigh of relief from new Barcelona president Joan Laporta, who had campaigned for the role on a platform of persuading Messi to stay at his boyhood club.
"For Leo, it is not about money, it is about the team and its chances of winning. Leo, above all, wants to feel comfortable, to feel appreciated. And then to win," Laporta said at the time.Also on rt.com Cristiano Ronaldo ‘calls for rape case to be thrown out because lawyers allegedly gave hacked documents to police investigators’