Barcelona are set to officially announce Lionel Messi’s contract renewal in the coming days. The club will almost certainly break the news next week, after lawyers have reviewed the terms of the deal.
Messi is set to stay linked to the club for the next five years, he will have his salary halved and he will have a release clause of 350 million euros.
Some parts of his contract were difficult to reach an agreement on, while others were sorted in a matter of seconds. Here we look at how they reached fresh terms.
The salary reduction
Messi will earn half of the salary he received with his previous contract. There was no discussion about this and the player accepted the offer immediately, aware of the delicate situation the club finds itself in. He was always insistent that money was not an obstacle in the deal.
The money freed up can also be used to improve the squad ahead of the new season.
The length of the contract
This aspect of the contract was more complicated, with Messi finally renewing for five years. There were many suggestions put forward by the club in recent months, though, with 10 years being talked about, or two, or even a rolling contract. But, all were rejected.
It now remains to be seen whether the Argentine will see out the full five years or move to the MLS after two seasons.
Caution with the tax office
This was unnegotiable for Messi. He wanted to be absolutely certain that any payment agreed on was above board and legal.
For this reason, Barcelona worked closely with tax authorities to ensure legality and, after being given the green light, the player accepted.
The role of sponsors
Joan Laporta wanted the deal done as soon as possible, and not only for sporting reasons. There were various sponsors who were waiting for Messi’s renewal. Having the best player in the world in the team naturally affects sponsors’ decisions and many major companies were asking about whether he was going to continue, including Rakuten.
Some sponsors were negotiating new deals and other companies were looking to invest for the first time, but all only if Messi were to stay at the club.
This was also a complicated matter, related to the tax office. Messi was owed approximately 80 million euros, either for defaults or deferred payments from other seasons.
One of the most complex issues in the deal was how to deal with these payments and it was made more difficult because of the large sums involved.
The sporting project
This was one of the most important questions for Messi. The Argentine wanted to stay at Barcelona, but only if the team was competitive and able to fight for trophies.
He’s aware of the financial situation at the club at the moment and how this affects the footballing side of things.
He saw how they moved fast to sign players like Eric Garcia, Memphis Depay and Sergio Aguero, but there is still work to do.