Why Barcelona must pay Lionel Messi until 2025 – even if he moves to Inter Miami

Lionel Messi announced his decision to join Inter Miami about a month ago, but his name is still a hot talking point around former club Barcelona.

As a result, when Barcelona president Joan Laporta was interviewed by local outlet La Vanguardia, Messi came up. Laporta assessed the situation the club is in with their long-time talisman right now. He also explained why they were unable to secure his return this summer after two seasons with Paris Saint-Germain.

Laporta was comfortable in laying out his version of why Messi ended up choosing MLS over Barcelona, ​​and also ended up revealing a rather unknown situation: the Catalan club is still paying money to the 36-year-old.

This money comes from the last contract that Messi had with Barcelona, ​​which ended in the summer of 2021 and allowed him to join PSG on a free transfer. However, payments from Barca to the Argentine striker will last until 2025, as Laporta confirmed on Monday…

What did Laporta say about Messi’s potential return?

Laporta insisted that Barcelona had the financial means to afford Messi’s comeback and register him in La Liga without major problems as they had reached an agreement with the league. He suggested that it was not finances that prevented Messi from returning this summer to the club and city that had been his home for 17 years.

He said: “I understand Messi’s decision to join Miami. But we had an agreement with La Liga and they knew we would use part of our resources to cover Messi. This was considered in our viability plan, approved by La Liga.

“We told Jorge Messi (the player’s father and agent) and he replied that Leo had been through a tough year in Paris and that he wanted less pressure on his shoulders.”

Athletics had reported last month that Messi did not rejoin Barca due to issues beyond simple pressure.


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Laporta, left, explained the ongoing payments to Messi, right, on Monday (Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images)

What about the money Barcelona owes Messi?

Last January, in an interview with Spanish radio’s Cadena SER, the president was asked if the club still owed money to Messi and replied: “We have nothing pending. Everything has been agreed with him.”

Today Laporta confirmed Barcelona is still paying Messi, and will have to do so for at least two more years.

“Do we owe Messi any money? The only thing we owe is the salary deferrals that were agreed with the previous board at the club,” he said. “This produces pending payments that end in 2025. We pay everything religiously.”


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Why should they pay Messi when he is not their player?

This is money Messi owes as part of the salary for his last contract with Barcelona. The issue is an agreement made during that time to ease the club’s financial problems.

Messi signed that contract in 2017 while Josep Maria Bartomeu was club president. It was a four-year deal until the summer of 2021. He eventually saw out the contract and moved to PSG on a free transfer after it expired. According to Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Messi had the potential to earn €138m (£118m) per season under that contract, including a fixed salary and potential add-ons.

Part of this money remains to be paid as the player agreed to defer it to help with the club’s finances. Two years after he left Camp Nou, Barcelona are still honoring their commitment and paying Messi the money he is entitled to.

How much do they owe him?

It’s unclear how much money he agreed to put up and how much of that is still pending.

All we know is that these payments were agreed in 2020, when Bartomeu asked the entire squad to cooperate with the club while playing behind closed doors due to the restrictions on crowds gathering during the Covid-19 pandemic. was a major financial problem across football.

For Barca, a club that already spends too much on player wages and relies mainly on their capacity to generate huge revenue, the temporary pause in all football activity that produces revenue on a regular basis was particularly damaging.

Some of their players agreed to go on salary. Other accepted postponements. Some did both.

In Messi’s case, his salary deferrals from 2020 and 2021 have been split into smaller installments for payment which will last, as Laporta revealed today, until 2025.

How close were Barca to re-signing Messi this summer?

Sources at the club assure us they were very close. There had been several reported meetings between Joan Laporta and Jorge Messi, with both sides admitting there was a chance the 36-year-old would return to play for the Catalans again. Indeed, a ‘last dance’ with Barcelona next season was understood to be the footballer’s priority.

Barca manager and former teammate at the club, Xavi spent the second half of last season personally in contact with Lionel Messi, explaining how much of a crucial role he could play in the rebuilding of the club. The friendship with Xavi had a significant impact on why Messi wanted to keep the possibility of a return on the table.

In the end, according to the player’s camp, it all collapsed due to lack of clarity on the financial side. They knew that Barcelona had to offload several first-team players in order to have the money to pay for Messi – something the player did not want to be responsible for.

On top of this, and despite Barcelona claiming they had everything agreed with La Liga, there were concerns on Messi’s part about whether he would ultimately be registered.

What happened at the end of that summer 2021 also colored the situation. Then Messi came back from his vacation and thought everything was fixed so he could extend his contract. However, at the last minute he found out that Barca would not carry out the agreement they had in place. This pushed him to avoid the same situation for the second time this summer.

Does this affect him at all at Inter Miami?

It really doesn’t. The money Barcelona owes Messi and the next phase of his career are two separate operations.

Barca, as they have done while he played in France for the past two seasons, will have to keep paying those chunks of deferred wages regardless of which club he plays for.


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(Top photo: Marc Gonzalez Aloma/Europa Press via Getty Images)

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