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Barca still owe Messi €39m in loyalty bonuses

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Barcelona still owe Lionel Messi a whopping €39m due to a loyalty bonus inserted in his final contract at Camp Nou.

Messi departed the club after 21 years after failing to find a way to sign a new deal that complied with La Liga  financial regulations and, as a result, has moved to Pars Saint-Germain to commence a new chapter in his career.

Despite this, dealings between the six-time Ballon d’Or recipient and that Catalan giants are not over. According to El Espanol,  in Messi’s mammoth Barça contract there was a loyalty bonus to recognise the glittering work he had done for the club throughout his career.

This bonus amounted to €72m, which former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu had negotiated to pay in two instalments – the first in June 2020 and the second in June 2021.

However, due to Barcelona’s  well-documented financial turmoil, paying this bonus as well as staff salaries became an impossibility and, by February 2021, Messi had received just €8.5m of the sum and is still owed €39m.

Barça find themselves in a situation similar to that of Neymar’s  after the Brazilian’s departure in 2017.

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The PSG forward took his former employers to trial, claiming he hadn’t been paid a loyalty bonus that was inserted into his contract soon before he left for Paris, eventually forcing both parties to come to an agreement for payment.

Things are not expected to turn as sour in Messi’s case, however. The Barça legend is adored and admired by almost the entirety of the club and their fanbase, and will forever live in the memory as their greatest ever player.

For now, though, the 34-year-old turns his attention to PSG,  where he has signed a contract thought to be worth between €35m and €40m per year after tax.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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