Foreign footballThe Spanish newspaper El Mundo has received mail traffic from 2020 between Lionel Messi’s father and FC Barcelona. A new contract with the Argentine superstar was being negotiated at the time, before the financial situation in Barcelona sent him out. The Catalan club is very displeased that the sensitive information has been leaked.
In 2020, the Barça club board wanted to make an attempt to tie Messi to the club longer. ‘El Mundo’ has now revealed the details of those negotiations between Jorge Messi – Messi’s father and representative – lawyers and former Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu.
Jorge Messi agreed to a 20% salary cut. This was subject to the condition that the amount would be repaid in the following years. In addition, there were other, specific requirements from the player. The Spanish newspaper speaks of a “brutal package of demands” from the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
The requirements that Barcelona initially agreed to in June 2020:
• Contract is automatically renewed every year, unless Messi wants to leave.
• Salary reduction of 20 percent in the first year. 10 percent of the salary will be reclaimed in the 2021/22 season and another 10 percent in 2022/23 with an interest of 3 percent per year.
• A family box at Camp Nou and a private flight to Argentina for the whole family for Christmas.
Afterwards, Messi came up with these additional demands that sparked discussion:
• New contract until mid-2023. To be extended if Messi wanted.
• Loyalty bonus payout from the previous contract.
• A contract extension for assistant Pepe Costa.
• Payment of the deferred amounts plus interest on termination of the contract.
• A signing bonus of ten million euros.
• Salary increase in the event of a tax increase.
• A symbolic surrender clause of 10,000 euros.
During the negotiations, Camp Messi agreed to the said salary cut of 20 percent, provided this was compensated with 3 percent interest in the years after corona.
Subsequent emails show that Messi agreed to a 30 or 40 percent cut, but a thorny point remained the symbolic surrender clause (initially 700 million euros) and the signing bonus of 10 million euros. The negotiations also show that Jorge Messi did not hesitate to sometimes report that Lionel “can also look at other clubs”.
I did everything I could to stay, I don’t know if the club did too.
A critical Messi in 2021 about the Barcelona club management
No agreement was reached and talks were frozen. A year later, Messi even proposed a 50 percent salary cut, then in talks with new president Joan Laporta. But to no avail: La Liga financial regulations made it impossible for the seven-time Golden Ball winner to stay.
“I did everything I could to stay, I don’t know whether the club has done that,” was the player’s only critical-sounding comment towards the club management in 2021. “We reached an agreement, I delivered 50 percent of my salary, and then I heard nothing more, until last week, according to La Liga, it was all impossible. I was convinced that there would be no more problem.”
Barcelona launches investigation
Barcelona is outraged by the publication. “The club also regrets that the media boasts of having had access to a huge amount of documentation and emails in the possession of an investigative team, while this information and documentation has not yet been shared with the parties,” the statement read.
“The use of these documents threatens the reputation and confidentiality of the club. For this reason, and with the aim of protecting the rights of FC Barcelona, our legal services are already investigating what appropriate measures should be taken.”
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