Lionel Messi’s Barcelona contract was so mouthwatering that even NBA stars were stunned to learn how much the Argentine was earning.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner’s deal at the Nou Camp expired on 30 June, meaning he is now a free agent and technically unemployed.
He does look likely to re-sign with Barca and link up with close friend and compatriot Sergio Aguero at club level, yet Messi will almost definitely have to take a pay cut given the dire financial situation the Catalan outfit are in.
Previously, as per leaks from El Mundo that emerged in January, Messi’s overall earnings were an extortionate €555,237,619 (£491 million) across four years.
— Boardroom (@boardroom) June 30, 2021
That number was made up of his base salary, image rights, bonuses and other variables but Messi was also entitled to a pricey payment of £102 million for putting pen to paper – and then a loyalty bonus of €77,929,955 (£69 million).
The £122,216,242.40 per season arrangement is comfortably the biggest contract in the sports history and was enough to leave some of the NBA’s big dogs in disbelief.
Kevin Durant has a reported $164 million four-year-deal with the Brooklyn Nets but he said Messi’s contract was “insane”.
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) June 30, 2021
Isaiah Thomas, meanwhile, was thinking about encouraging his kids to play a different sport to him after seeing Messi’s mindblowing figures.
“OMG. I gotta put my kids in Futbol lol,”the two-time NBA All-Star wrote on Twitter.
OMG. I gotta put my kids in Futbol lol https://t.co/SofUGhPrVe
— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) June 30, 2021
Messi has been involved in contract negotiations with Barcelona for quite some time but could not reach an agreement on an extension before the current deal ran its course.
Still, despite interest from elsewhere, Barca president Joan Laporta is hopeful he will continue as a Barcelona player.
“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,” Laporta toldEl Transistor.
“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.”
Featured Image Credit: FC Barcelona & PA Images