Barcelona Will Pay Lionel Messi’s Wages Through 2025
Lionel Messi's departure from Barcelona was a moment of great upheaval for the club and its fans. The Argentine superstar had been an integral part of the team for decades, rising through the ranks of Barcelona's esteemed academy to become one of the most iconic footballers of all time. However, his exit was not solely a matter of choice but rather a result of the club's financial struggles and the burdensome contracts they were grappling with.
Despite Messi's willingness to continue playing for Barcelona even for a fraction of his previous wages, the club's precarious financial situation and the stringent anti-laundering measures in place made it impossible for him to accept a significantly reduced salary. Financial fair play regulations imposed by football governing bodies also added to the complexities of the situation, restricting Barcelona's ability to negotiate a sustainable deal with their beloved captain.
The predicament was further exacerbated by the previous Barcelona board's decision to defer Messi's wages in an attempt to allocate funds for signing new players on hefty contracts. Messi, who had a deep loyalty to the club, agreed to earn less to aid his beloved team. The contract he had previously signed with Barcelona was rumored to be the largest sports contract ever, as reported by El Mundo. Over the course of four years, Messi was set to earn over $600 million, assuming he achieved all the performance benchmarks specified in the contract.
Unfortunately, the deferred payment scheme meant that Barcelona owed Messi a staggering $56.6 million by the time he eventually left the club. Adding to Barcelona's financial woes was the fact that Messi's departure occurred via a free transfer, depriving the club of any potential transfer fees that could have provided some relief to their financial struggles.
The new Barcelona President, Joan Laporta, acknowledged the club's outstanding payments and revealed that they were projected to extend until 2025, despite initial hopes of resolving them by 2022. This prolonged financial burden may have played a role in Messi's decision to explore new opportunities, leading him to opt for a move to Inter Miami rather than considering a return to Barcelona.
In response to Messi's departure, Barcelona released a somewhat passive-aggressive statement about his move, insinuating that Inter Miami presented fewer challenges and less pressure compared to the demands faced at Barcelona. This statement, however, did not diminish the deep sense of loss and disappointment felt by the fans who had adored Messi for years.
To regain financial stability, Barcelona took significant measures, such as selling its media rights and offloading players while being cautious with extravagant signings. These financial maneuvers allowed the club to make strides toward economic recovery. Moreover, the club received some relief with the recent news that LaLiga would be easing its financial fair play rules. This development meant that Barcelona could invest 50% of its generated revenue from new deals or player sales back into the club, providing them with a much-needed financial lifeline.
Despite these efforts, the primary focus for Barcelona remains the settlement of Messi's outstanding wages. This is undoubtedly a considerable financial burden for the club, but it is also a crucial step in restoring the fractured relationship between Messi and his beloved Barcelona. The club's management understands that honoring their iconic player with a tribute at the renovated Camp Nou will be an important gesture to acknowledge his contributions to the club's storied history.