It’s hard to believe that Lionel Messi is a free agent as things stand.
The legendary forward’s Barcelona contract expired on June 30 and he’s free to sign for any club in the world.
That said, it’s extremely unlikely that Messi, who has been linked with moves to Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain in recent months, will join another team this summer.
The 34-year-old is in negotiations with Barça over a new two-year deal, although it’s been reported that he would be required to take a pay cut on his astronomical wages.
"We want him to stay and Leo wants to stay, everything is on the right track, what's left to sort out is the issue of fair play and we are in the process of finding the best solution for both parties," Barcelona present Joan Laporta told El Transistor, per Sky Sports.
"I'd like to be able to announce that he is staying but at the moment I cannot do that, because we are in the process of looking for the best solution for both parties."
Messi and his family feel firmly at home in Barcelona and the player is now happier at Camp Nou and more optimistic for the future following Laporta’s return.
The signing of Sergio Aguero, one of his closest friends in football, should help to further convince him to stay.
How much money was Messi earning at Barcelona?
Details of Messi’s previous contract were leaked to the Spanish media back in January.
It showed that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner was earning a staggering €555,237,619 (£491m) with base salary, image rights, bonuses and other variables taken into account.
The contract worked out at €133 million (£122m) per season, per The Mirror, while a €115,225,000 (£102m) renewal bonus was paid to the South American simply for signing the contract.
His loyalty bonus, meanwhile, was set at €77,929,955 (£69m).
Messi is arguably the greatest footballer of all time, but these were still unbelievable figures.
NBA stars shocked by Messi's contract
Even NBA stars Kevin Durant and Isaiah Thomas were left stunned after finding out how much money Messi was earning.
Thomas, who previously played for the LA Lakers but is currently a free agent, tweeted: “OMG. I gotta put my kids in Futbol lol”
Durant, whose four-year contract with the Brooklyn Nets is worth a reported $164 million, tweeted: “Insane”.
Messi’s contract was the largest in sporting history - and by some distance, too.
Even NFL star Patrick Mahomes’ £402 million deal with Kansas City Chiefs pales in comparison to what Messi was earning.
However, his new Barcelona salary might look *slightly* more modest when the contract agreement is finally announced.
Will England win Euro 2020? (Football Terrace)
How much do you really know about Lionel Messi? [Quiz]