Leo Messi will become even richer next season, according to Mundo Deportivo, with a clause in his Barcelona contract set to see a huge increase in his basic wage.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is already believed to be the best-paid player in the world, earning an annual wage of €22.8 million, the equivalent of £330,000-a-week. That is slightly ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, who reportedly earns €21m-per-annum.
However, next season will see Messi move head and shoulders above his Real Madrid counterpart with a clause in his contract automatically increasing his wages to €39.4m-per-annum. It is an incredible amount for a single player, but we are talking about one of the best of all time here.
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Interestingly, the report also claims that the 28-year-old will also receive a one-off payment of €19.9m if Barcelona decide to sell him in the summer.
With his release clause set at €250m, such a fee would represent less than 10 percent of the overall transfer and is a fairly standard clause in player contracts these days. That is, of course, assuming they hold out for the maximum fee.
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Could he leave?
Few clubs in the world have what it takes to pay that kind of money and then add Messi's wages on top of it. One of those clubs, however, just happens to be the outright favourite to hire Pep Guardiola in the summer.
Manchester City are attempting to recreate a 'Barcelona in Sky Blue' at the Etihad and are believed to have already agreed a deal for Guardiola take charge. Part of the package that attracted him to Man City, allegedly, was a promise that they will try and sign Messi, complete with an £800,000-a-week contract.
Will he leave?
But money may not be good enough to draw Messi away from Camp Nou. He has regularly insisted that he would happily retire at Barcelona and also claimed he would only consider a return to Argentina if he was to ever leave.
While the challenge of the Premier League has attracted some of the game's biggest stars, it still seems inconceivable that Messi will ever grace it. However, with Barcelona struggling to balance the books – read more on that here – the La Liga club may find themselves with little choice but to cash in.
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