By Preye Campbell
Lionel Messi continues to be at the centre of a very disturbing transfer saga involving himself and his club FC Barcelona this summer.
Messi is said to want to leave the club he has served all his career and the Argentine superstar has made moves to reflect that decision, the latest being failing to report for the club’s pre-season duties. At the centre of this transfer tussle between the six-time Ballon d’Or winner and Barcelona is the player’s contract details. Various assumptions have been put in place as regards Messi. And while we wait for any decision to be made, we ask ourselves this question; what exactly is in Messi’s contract?
Messi’s contract details explain that the forward signed this current deal back in 2017. It was a four-year deal that made Messi the highest-paid footballer on Earth. Messi reportedly earns €8.3 million per month up until June 2021. It was believed that Barca offered this mammoth wage to their prized asset to thwart interest from other clubs.
Going further, Barca inserted a buyout clause of €700 million, which more than doubled his initial €300 million buyout clause. The interesting part is where the Blaugrana side inserted a special clause in Messi’s contract that allows him to leave Camp Nou at the end of the season. And according to that notion, Messi had until May 31- the date where the Spanish La Liga was meant to come to an end- to trigger that cause.
Technically, that clause in Messi’s contract has expired. But with the COVID-19 interruption, Messi is now requesting an off-season exit. ‘The special clause had to be activated before June 1, but the unusual circumstances of the coronavirus-enforced pause in the season mean that he (Messi) may be able to request an exit now in the off-season’, Spanish paper Marca explained.
Messi wants to leave but the club will make the ultimate decision. If Barcelona rejects their 33-year-old star’s request for whatever reason, Messi will have to hand in a transfer request to facilitate a move away from Catalonia. This is where Messi’s €700 million buyout clause will have to be matched by suitors. And with the financial crisis in this year’s transfer market, it means such a move is highly unlikely.
It means that Messi will have to spend the next season at Barca before dropping into the free-agent pool. And it remains to be seen if such will materialise, given that Barca’s maestro seems to have his heart set elsewhere- at least away from the club.