Lionel Messi offered new £37m-a-year contract

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Barcelona forward Lionel Messi may have missed out on this year's Ballon d'Or crown but he is set to get one up on arch nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo in the pay stakes this week, with the Argentine set to put pen to paper on a new £37m-a-year contract that puts him back out in front as the world's highest paid player.

Messi currently picks up a yearly salary of £33m as part of a new contract extension he signed just 12 months ago, but only takes home half of that under new 50% tax laws in Spain.

Real Madrid reassured Ronaldo that he is still the main man at the Bernabeu with a fresh £35m-a-year contract last summer, but Barca believe that Messi deserves to earn more than the Portuguese star and have offered him improved terms.

The 26-year-old will sign a new deal in the next few weeks according to the Sun, adding an extra £4m-a-year to his current contract, with the terms also backdated from the start of the campaign.

Messi is back to full fitness in 2014 after spending six weeks on the sidelines with a torn thigh muscle, with the 26-year-old featuring in Barca's last two La Liga matches.

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Cristiano Ronaldo
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