"The colossal contract that ruined Barcelona" is what a Spanish newspaper calls this contract. €555 million was the amount decided by Barcelona to be paid to Lionel Messi over the course of 4 years from 2017 to 2021. Does the contract actually impact Barcelona's financial condition? Is Messi worth that much money? Will this contract be a deciding factor next summer if Messi decides to leave?
The real cause of conflict
El Mundo, a Spanish newspaper reported on Sunday, that Messi had signed a contract worth 555 million Euros with Barcelona in 2017. The hefty amount makes Messi the highest-paid athlete with respect to his contract. The new is more of a 'leak' rather than an official statement. This has enraged the Argentine along with several others at the club. Players along with the coach, Ronald Koeman have spoken about it openly and condemned such an act. Strict confidentiality should be maintained when dealing with a contract between a player and a club.
This news leak has created a huge uproar in the football community. This is mainly because Football Club Barcelona is already suffering from a huge financial debt. Questions are being asked as to how can a club pay such a huge amount to one player when it is not doing well financially.
Barcelona is reportedly on the verge of bankruptcy. The club did not pay the wages of the players completely. El Mundo reports that the club has suffered a loss of around $117 million in 2020 alone. Barcelona owes $35 million to Liverpool for Coutinho and $19 million to Ajax for Frenkie De Jong. These are just some of the few headaches for the club. At such a time, the news leak of Messi's ridiculous contract has forced a negative impact on the Argentine who is not at all happy with the situation. Barcelona has decided to sue the newspaper for leaking the contract.
“FC Barcelona expresses its absolute support for Lionel Messi, especially in the face of any attempt to discredit his image, and to damage his relationship with the entity where he has worked to become the best player in the world and in football history.”
- An official statement from FC Barcelona
Is Messi worth €555 million?
That seems like an absurd question. This is because if you know that a player is so good that he can win you matches almost single-handedly, you would give anything to keep him satisfied. However, the amount is so huge that it makes you wonder whether Messi is indeed overpaid. €555 million. Barcelona and Messi have become almost synonymous over the last decade. The club took in a kid who suffered from a growth hormone deficiency, where he became the greatest player that the world has ever seen.
"You can't win a football match with only one player who is great and the rest as wood" - they said. It never applied to the little genius. He scored, assisted, dribbled, and did everything that a forward is expected to do and he was the best at everything. In addition to it, he won a club record of 34 trophies at Barcelona. His impact at the club is incomparable to anyone else in football. His ridiculous records go on increasing every season. For a span of 2 to 3 seasons, Barcelona was so dependent on Messi that the term 'Messidependencia' eventually came into play. It is safe to say FC Barcelona would not be at the level they are currently at, without Leo playing for them.
Now, we go back to the question. How much is Lionel Messi worth? €555 million? Priceless is the answer.
Is Messi happy at Barcelona?
Messi announced his desire to leave the club in the summer of 2020. Hence, it was a difficult time for all Blaugrana fans. He was clearly not happy with the management and the club. Having to bear the load of the club was proving to be difficult for him. Although he has mentioned countless times how much he loves the club, the badge, there is always an end. He let the whole world know of the problems at the club in his interview with Goal. The club's former president, Bartomeu didn't allow Messi to leave based on a clause in his statement. The relationship between Messi and the management turned even more bitter. He had no choice but to continue playing for the club.
However, Barcelona is slowly changing. Moreover, the new President will arrive soon owing to the Presidential elections. The team is performing well with all the youngsters on form. Ronald Koeman is gelling along well with the team, especially with Messi.
If you look closely at Barcelona these days, be it on match days or in training, you will occasionally find a smile on the Argentine's lips. A smile that brings relief to all fans worldwide. A smile that says "Maybe I will not leave the club just yet". This is obviously impacted by the current run of form that Barcelona is having. After the historic 8-2 loss against Bayern, the club was set to build up again from scratch so that they can restore their days of glory. So far, they have done a good job. The little man is happy. That is what matters now.
Messi's future and its impact on Barcelona
With everything being said, Messi's future at the club is still in doubt as he has not signed a new contract yet. In the coming summer, he can leave for free to any club. Nevertheless, if Messi decides to leave, there won't be any shortage of offers, that's for sure. PSG and Manchester City are already on the frontline to send an offer.
Barcelona will lose their most valuable player should Messi leave next summer. How will they replace his unique talent on the field? With Messi gone, someone will have to take up his role on the field and be the one who links up all parts of the attack. With the form he is in, Griezmann would be the perfect substitute for him. He would have a free role just like he had at Atletico Madrid and for the national team. That would bring out the best in him. Moreover, his defensive abilities and incredible stamina make him almost a complete player. With a clinical striker upfront, Barcelona can once again be one of the best teams in Europe, a title they have lost in recent years.
Not €555 million. Priceless
€555 million cannot define a player of Leo's abilities. This is because a player like him is rare. With the current financial and sporting situation at Barcelona, Messi might not even be in the club next season. The news leak which was perhaps intended to bring down Leo, only proves that he shall be forever priceless.