For the time since 2000, Lionel Messi is without a club. As hard as it sounds to believe, legendary forward’s Barcelona contract expired on June 30. He is currently on international duty playing for Argentina at the Copa America.
Messi has been linked with a transfer to Manchester City and PSG recently, but it is highly unlikely that he will sign for any. Talks have advanced between his representatives and Barcelona officials for a renewal contract till 2023. There are small problems but these will be resolved sooner than later.
“We want him to stay and Leo wants to stay, everything is on the right track, what’s left to sort out is the issue of fair play and we are in the process of finding the best solution for both parties. I’d like to be able to announce that he is staying but at the moment I cannot do that because we are in the process of looking for the best solution for both parties.” Barcelona president Joan Laporta told El Transistor, per Sky Sports.
Leo’s astronomical 2017-21 contract
Messi’s previous contract details were infamously leaked to the Spanish media this January. It created ripples across the sporting world. The numbers were astronomical and some couldn’t even believe their eyes.
Messi reportedly was earning a massive €555,237,619 (£491m). This included his base salary, image rights, bonuses, and other variables. This was to be paid as €133 million (£122m) per season and a €115,225,000 (£102m) renewal bonus just to sign the contract. The Argentinian’s loyalty bonus was €77,929,955 (£69m). The 6-time Ballon d’Or is unarguably one of the greatest footballers of all time, but still, these are unbelievable figures.
This is how some NBA stars reacted to Messi’s contract
Renowned NBA stars, Kevin Durant and Isaiah Thomas couldn’t believe themselves when they found out about Messi’s earnings at Barcelona.
Thomas, a former LA Laker who is now a free agent, took to Twitter saying, “OMG. I gotta put my kids in Futbol lol”. On the other hand, Durant could not find words other than “Insane” when he tweeted about Messi’s contract. Durant currently has a 4-year contract with the Brooklyn Nets which is reportedly worth $164 million.
Messi’s contract is the largest one in sporting history. NFL star Patrick Mahomes’ £402 million contract deal with Kansas City Chiefs is also far away from Messi’s earnings. However, the huge pay cuts he will be taking to help the club will mean that Barcelona’s finances can have a breather.
The new contract and its finances
Spanish football writer Guillem Balague said “Messi’s contract renewal is new president Joan Laporta’s main priority and he is currently negotiating it directly with Messi’s father and representative, Jorge Messi. To be able to keep the Argentine, the club will have to reduce their wage bill by around 200m euros (£172m) to meet La Liga’s Financial Fair Play requirements.”
Messi is currently a free agent and if a club can offer his desired wages, he might be attracted to it. His family feels at home in Barcelona. He has been loyal to the club since his earliest days and wants to see the club gain the highest ranks in European football before he leaves. As per club president Joan Laporta, Messi’s contract talks are on the right track.