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Messi top paid player

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POSTED May 20, 2014 1:41 a.m.

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lionel Messi has signed a restructured contract extension with Barcelona that reportedly makes the Argentina international the world’s highest-paid football player.

Barcelona had originally announced the deal on Friday and says it was officially signed on Monday. The Catalan club says Messi “was very motivated by the deal.”

The 26-year-old Messi will earn a reported $27 million per season with further incentives able to drive the deal up to $34 million per year until the contract ends in 2017-18 — surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo’s deal with Real Madrid. Messi also has a buy-out clause of $343 million.

Messi’s previous contract ran through the 2017-18 season and was worth a reported $22 million per season.

Messi’s deal comes two days after Barcelona lost its Spanish league title to Atletico Madrid following a 1-1 draw between the teams at its Camp Nou Stadium.

 

Catalan Club names new coach after woeful finish

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona hired Luis Enrique as its new coach on Monday, hoping the former player can help restore the club’s recent success following its first season in six years without a major trophy.

Barcelona said on its website that Enrique agreed to a two-year deal, but did not disclose further details. He will replace Argentine coach Gerardo Martino, who stepped down on Saturday after the club failed to defend its Spanish league title.

The 44-year-old Enrique is one of the few players to have had successful careers with both Real Madrid and Barcelona, having left the former in 1996 to join its archrival. He stayed at Barcelona until 2004.

He had been widely expected to be appointed as the club’s new coach after stepping down from his position at Celta Vigo last week, and will restore a line of in-house managers most recently continued by Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova.

Barcelona also said goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen is joining the club from German side Borussia Monchengladbach to replace Victor Valdes, who is leaving on his own accord.

In other moves, Barcelona said it was bringing back forward Gerard Deulofeu from Everton and midfielder Rafina Alcantara from Celta, after both young talents were loaned out last season to acquire playing experience.

The Catalan club said goalkeeper Jose Pinto would not be returning after six-and-a-half seasons as Valdes’ backup and starter in the Copa del Rey.

Enrique will be tasked with rekindling the competitive edge that Messi and his teammates lacked at critical moments throughout the season that it started well but finished in its worst form since before Guardiola took over in 2008.

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