Cash-strapped Barcelona will still have to fork out a massive £170,000 per week to Lionel Messi until 2025 if he does eventually leave in the summer, according to reports.
Messi was desperate to leave the Spanish giants for free in the summer after becoming disillusioned with proceedings on and off the pitch, but Barcelona blocked any move by insisting suitors – particularly Manchester City – would have to pay his £629million release clause.
Messi’s future is now up in the air – with it still being expected that he will leave in the summer – and if that is the case, he would still earn an eye-watering £170,000 a week for the next four years from Barcelona due to a contractual agreement, according to Marca.
The report claims that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner will bank £34.7million (€39m) at the end of the 2020-21 campaign, which is half of his £69.4m (€78m) bonus that was agreed when he put pen to paper on his last contract renewal in 2017.
The other half of the £69.4m bonus is reportedly being paid in installments, which will see the Argentine icon receive the money in eight separate payments over four years – which would go on until 2025.
That would equate to roughly £170,000 a week for Messi, who has attracted plenty of interest from both City and Paris Saint-Germain.
This would be another huge financial blow for Barca, with the club’s current crippling debt approaching €1billion euros.
The LaLiga side announced during the 2019-20 season that they expected to be the first club to break the £1bn barrier for income in a single year in football, however that figure was blown off course by the coronavirus pandemic.
As a result, the club took a loss of almost $100m (£73.5m) for the campaign, and there are concerns this season could be worse.
And according to Catalonia’s leading newspaper La Vanguardia, that has added to the total the club owes, with a net debt of €500m being topped up by a ‘runaway’ deficit amounting to more than €400m.
The piece explains that the next president and his board will have to deal with the situation as a priority, with €420m of that debt owed in the next 12 months.
That is something the club cannot currently afford, and so a expensive restructuring of those debts will likely be needed, throwing the club into a further financial hole.
Meanwhile, despite City and PSG remaining in pursuit of Messi, the Argentine kept his cards close to his chest when speaking about his future at the end of December.
‘I’m not at all sure about my future,’ he told journalist Jordi Evole.
‘I’m going to wait until the season ends I don’t know if I will go or not but if I do I want to go in the best way possible.