Messi to sign improved contract for Barcelona

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has revealed that Lionel Messi is on the verge of signing a new long-term contract at the Camp Nou.

The Argentina star is already under contract to the Catalan club until 2014 but is now poised to pen an improved deal which will make him the highest earning player at the Spanish and European champions.

The 22-year-old has been with Barca since joining their much-vaunted youth system in 2000.

He is already expected to be crowned FIFA World Player of the Year when the next winner is unveiled later in the season.

"He's the best player in the world and one of the best in soccer history," said Laporta. "He's content and that's why he's playing the way he is."

Meanwhile, Laporta accepts that the club were right to sell Samuel Eto'o to Internazionale in the summer.

The Cameroon international moved to the San Siro as part of the deal that saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic move in the opposite direction.

Laporta told the Spanish sports newspaper Sport: "Inter wanted Eto'o and, advised by our technical secretary (Txiki Begiristain), we decided that the time had come for Samuel to leave Barcelona.

"Eto'o was exemplary - he left the club with great elegance and dignity. He was a player that gave a lot to Barcelona and one who was known to give excellent performances.

"It was not easy to tell a player like Eto'o that he did not have a place in the team."

Meanwhile, Barca's defender Gerard Pique has hit out at Real Madrid's massive summer spending spree.

The former Manchester United star believes that is was Barca's success last season when they clinched three trophies that forced Real to buy so many new players in the last three months.

"They needed to sign players because their rival won the treble, and so they have invested in their squad," Pique told Sport. "They've signed players to achieve a change of pace and to try to win back a title.

"People say the title will be between Real Madrid and Barca. That is the feeling that everybody has, but in football anything can happen and another team can step into the fight for the title.

"But for team investment and budget, Barca and Madrid are the candidates for the title."

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