- Avoiding intermediary, club bankroller Sheikh Mansour extends offer directly to No-1 star player
MANCHESTER: Manchester City’s proposal of a 100 million euro signing-on fee plus a 50m euro annual salary for Lionel Messi was irrevocable.
It was an offer made directly by club bankroller Sheikh Mansour without discussing it via any agent or intermediary, and Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu knew of no other offers, for the City one had put enough on his plate. What he did know was that City had set the agenda for Messi’s contract negotiations at the Camp Nou.
This was no hoax or rumour, City knew it was now or never if they wanted the Argentine star. Not even the relationship between Pep Guardiola and Messi was factored in, Sheikh Mansour only had the player in his head. The bid was so incontestable that, even though the Blaugrana knew Messi wanted to stay, they felt they had to match the cash on offer in England.
Jumping Neymar and Ronaldo, Messi is now number one, again, when it comes to salary. Neymar had burst the market in July with Messi’s renewal having been announced days after his wedding, but the reality has the Argentine back in the lead. Three contracts in one were negotiated; one for Messi’s charity, one for his image rights, and one for his basic salary to guarantee 50m euros per annum until 2021.
On July 5, 2017, Barcelona announced the player’s contract extension via Twitter. It was an act done in a rush as the club sought to cover the ‘free seat’ controversy broken by TV3. Messi himself hadn’t signed the contract but his father was among the representatives who had, increasing his salary to 30m euros along with a 300m euro release clause.
Soon after, Neymar left for Paris Saint-Germain and that world record move threw everything into disarray, meaning that initial deal signed by Messi’s father was effectively thrown in the bin. It belongs in the Camp Nou museum. Some months after this all occurred, Bartomeu seeks to reduce the Blaugrana wage bill.
Revenue may be at its highest point in club history with 222m euros banked from the Neymar deal, but Messi’s renewal put his annual cost to Barcelona at the same level of the entire MSN at the time Luis Suarez signed in 2014. “We have paid a lot,” was confessed at the time of the forward’s proper renewal, but it was simply not a deal they could afford to lose.
The phantom contract had not secured full legal guarantees and the announcement of it was a major error. The goalposts were moved, the contract was no less important, and Bartomeu nonetheless achieved success in eventually obtaining Messi’s signature. Messi would not have left. Happy in Barcelona, the forward continues to set new records and is in control of everything at the club.
Still full of ambition and content with his family life in the region, everything is in order for Messi with no change justified so long as the Blaugrana met the player’s true market valuation. With this finally dealt with, it is now incomings on the agenda at the Camp Nou.