Barcelona will ‘have to pay’ Lionel Messi a huge €33 million loyalty bonus next summer – even if he chooses to leave the club.
But he’ll be able to walk for free in the summer and ESPN claim he’ll still be owed a huge wad of cash from Barca.
Terms in the 33-year-old’s new contract signed in 2017 meant he would get a €66 million release clause.
Half of that was paid back in February and the other half is due upon the expiry of his contract in June.
It means he’ll get the money even if he chooses to end his near two decade relationship with the Blaugrana.
The report claims Messi wants manager Pep Guardiola to renew his deal as well as international teammate Sergio Aguero.
Guardiola managed the six-time Ballon d’Or winner between 2008 and 2012, winning the Champions League twice in their time together.
Messi’s frustration at Barcelona came due to former president Josep Bartomeu’s management of the club.
He told Goal: “Throughout the year I had been telling the president that I wanted to leave, that the time had come to seek new goals and new directions in my career.
“He told me all the time: ‘We’ll talk, not now, this and that’, but nothing. The president did not give me a clue at what he was really saying.
“What they say is that I did not say it before June 10 – but I repeat, we were in the middle of all the competitions and it was not the moment.
“But apart from that, the president always told me, ‘When the season is over, you decide if you stay or leave’, he never set a date, and well, it was simply to make to the club official that he was not following his word, but not to get into a fight because I did not want to fight with the club.”
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