Lionel Messi is already one of the richest soccer players on the planet, and he could soon add a record-breaking signing bonus to his bottom line.
According to a report from the Daily Mail, FC Barcelona is set to offer Messi a bonus of approximately $US100 million to extend his tenure with the club. That sum would be on top of a reported base salary of around $US650,000 per week.
$US100 million would shatter the previous record for a signing bonus, according to the report. It shows how badly Barcelona wants to hold onto their superstar, especially in light of rumours that he may be eyeing a move to Manchester City after the new year.
But while Barcelona is one of the richest clubs in the world, they already spend 84% of their total revenue on player salaries, so it appears they will have to go to special lengths to afford Messi’s bonus. The Mail reported that the club is considering selling the naming rights to the Camp Nou, the team’s home since 1957. A potential deal would involve 25 years of brand name attachment and raise well over $US200 million in revenue.
The Camp Nou is set to undergo significant renovations in the next few years, and it could have a new name as soon as next season, breaking a 60-year precedent. But while a number of changes are planned, Messi’s new contract will provide some continuity on the pitch.
Messi’s current deal with Barcelona is set to expire at the end of this season, but talks of an extension stalled over the summer while the star forward was helping his native Argentina qualify for the World Cup. Argentina clinched its place in Russia earlier this week thanks to Messi’s hat trick against Ecuador.
While re-signing Messi would have been a top priority for Barcelona no matter the circumstances, it became an especially important goal after losing Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain by way of a record-breaking $US263 million transfer. Losing both superstars would have been a big blow to the club, which reached the quarterfinals of the Champions League last season.
While Messi has not officially agreed to the deal, midfielder and team captain Andres Iniesta, who signed a lifetime deal with Barcelona earlier this month, believes the 30 year old will return to the Camp Nou.
“The club wants Leo to be here, he wants to be here. I hope that his story [at Barcelona] never ends,” he said, according to The Sun. “He is unique, we can’t live without him, and I think the club thinks the same way.”
Barcelona will go for their 10th win in a row on Saturday, when they face off against Atletico Madrid.
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