Barcelona confirm improved deal for Messi

New contract set to be worth €20 million per season, making Messi highest paid footballer in the world

Lionel Messi has signed a new contract with Barcelona, the Catalan giants have announced.

Barca revealed that an agreement over a new deal had been reached last Friday and, while no details were disclosed, the Argentinian officially put pen to paper today.

"FC Barcelona would like to announce that Leo Messi and the club signed a revised contract this afternoon," said a statement on the Barca's official website.

"The signing took place in the presence of Leo Messi, his father Jorge Messi and the club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, as well as the sporting vice-president Jordi Mestre and the club CEO, Antoni Rossich.


"During the signing, which was made in the presidential box at the Camp Nou, Leo Messi repeatedly expressed his excitement about the new deal."

The improved contract will reportedly make the four-time World Player of the Year the best-paid player with a net annual salary of €20 million.

It is understood Messi will remain tied to the club until June 2018, as in his previous contract, and could earn around €5 million more per season in performance-linked bonuses.

Messi, who had been earning a net €13 million per season, will top soccer's earnings list ahead of Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo on €18 million and Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Paris St Germain on €14.7 million, Spanish sports daily Marca said last week.

Since Messi made his debut in the 2004-05 season, Barca have won 21 titles, including three Champions Leagues and six La Liga crowns. He joined Barca's academy at the age of 13 after a spell at Newell's Old Boys in his native Rosario.

Messi and his father last year paid €5 million to the Spanish authorities as a “corrective payment” after they were accused of filing false tax returns.

The pair, who both denied wrongdoing, allegedly hid more than €4 million by filing incomplete returns for the years 2006 to 2009.

The sale of Messi’s image rights had been hidden using a complex web of shell companies in Uruguay, Belize, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, the prosecutor’s office for tax crimes in Catalonia said.