Barcelona have confirmed they are prepared to sit down with Lionel Messi and agree a new contract, as they believe he deserves to be the best paid player in world football ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.
"We all want Messi to be the best-paid player in the world and that is what we are working on. Right now we are concentrating on the competitions we are in but it will happen soon," Josep Bartomeu is quoted as saying in the Daily Mail.
Real Madrid's main man signed a new deal last September that reportedly took his earnings to €21million a year, which works out at around £336,000 a week. Messi also signed a new deal last summer, but it appears as though the mantle of being the world highest-paid player is something that matters to him.
It is also a change in tone from Barcelona since Sandro Rosell stepped down in light of the scandal around the Neymar transfer. At the end of last year Camp Nou vice president Javier Faus questioned why Messi would require another new deal after only signing one in June of 2013.
Perhaps the player was not too happy with this stance because reports have since emerged claiming big-spending clubs like Manchester City were ready table huge bids. It now looks as though Messi will be appeased and the Daily Mail report claims the Catalan club's moneymen will meet with the player's father, Jorge Messi, before the Copa del Rey final against Real Madrid.
It also claims that Messi's current deal will be extended by a year until 2019, though the earliest negotiations hit something of snag and relations between the two camps were made a little frosty. Barcelona's initial proposal included them taking some of the income from Messi's image rights, which did not go down well.
Real Madrid usually stipulate that all players give up 100 per cent of image rights, though they changed this for Ronaldo's latest and only take 50 per cent of his rights. Barcelona's logic could have been that an improved deal to be the world's best paid player might be offset somewhat by taking a proportion of Messi's image rights.