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MESSI’S €33M BONUS AFTER TRYING TO LEAVE BARCA

Barcelona must pay Lionel Messi a €33 million loyalty bonus next summer as part of the contract he signed with the club in 2017, sources told ESPN. Messi has received half of the €66m bonus in February, with the second half due in June when his contract expires and he can leave for free.

It’s not the first time Barca have chosen to reward players in this manner. Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta also received bonuses — although nowhere near as much as Messi — while other players, including Carles Puyol, turned down the chance to make more money from the club.

According to sources, Messi also received a renewal bonus “worth around €100m” when he signed the four-year deal three years ago. That bonus was paid in instalments across the course of his contract.

Messi, 33, would have given up the second half of the bonus had he left the club earlier this year, as he wanted to. Instead, he remained at Camp Nou and his future beyond this season heavily depends on who is elected as the club’s new president after Josep Maria Bartomeu stepped down. Messi’s 20-year stay at the club hinges on the incoming president being able to sell the club’s new sporting project to him.

The €33m owed to Messi comes at a bad time for Barca as they continue to negotiate wage deferrals with the club’s employees, including the first-team squad. Several players have already agreed to new contracts which will see them take a hit on their salaries this season under the agreement that it’s returned in the coming years.

Barca have said they need to knock €190m off their wage bill this season due to the financial consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Several big earners were sold in the summer, which helped, but talks are still ongoing with other members of the squad with Nov. 23 set as a deadline for an agreement — Moises Llorens

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