Lionel Messi’s contract at Barcelona is expiring at the end of the season, which means that starting in January, he can sign FOR FREE with any other non-Spanish (or non-Catalan, for that matter) team.
Is there a chance that could happen? Of course not. But in a world where PSG can pay €222m for Neymar in transfer fees alone, spending €150m in annual wages on Messi (that’s roughly £2.5m/week but hey, no transfer fee!), even a 30-year-old Messi, doesn’t look nearly as outrageous as it would’ve just last year. That’s the contract offer that some unnamed team in China supposedly had on offer for the best player ever, though it’s not clear whether that was before or after the recent financial austerity measures imposed on the Chinese Super League.
Now might be a good time to mention that all this comes from rather terrible sources, chief among them Eduardo Inda of OK Diario, formerly of Madrid-based El Mundo and Marca, who says that while Messi’s “intention is to stay” he does have potential exit routes.
Given those financial terms, there are only a handful teams that could ever be linked with Messi and Inda goes with the trio of Chelsea, PSG, and Manchester City. I’d argue that Chelsea are not quite in the same stratosphere in terms of spending power as the two self-sponsored Near East-backed clubs — we were once upon a time, but not anymore — but let’s not worry about that right now.
As to why would Messi ever leave Barcelona, Inda goes with reasons such as the current political instability in the region, the years of tax problems Messi and other big stars in Spain have had to deal with (they could try not cheating the system, in fairness), and the whole weird situation where the Barcelona president announced that an extension had been signed only for that to turn out to be not true. Or as our blogfather put it:
mes que un rampant clusterfuck— Graham MacAree (@MacAree) August 18, 2017
That said, since the summer of turmoil and Super Cup loss to Real Madrid, Barcelona have only gone and dominated both La Liga and their Champions League group, losing not one game, and are busy lining up the next big superstar signing, be that Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho, or Christian Eriksen. And there are rumors that Messi’s extension, if and when he does sign it, will be a “lifetime contract”. So it’s all hunky-dory once again, right?
Not if the tabloids have anything to say about it!