By Jennifer Ugwueke
Lionel Messi is still entitled to a huge loyalty bonus from Barcelona despite leaving the club.
After flying into Paris for a medical and the signing of his contract on Tuesday, Messi was officially unveiled as a Paris Saint-Germain player in front of the world’s media on Wednesday.
He has signed a two-year contract with the option of a third and is in reported to be earning a whopping €35 million-a-year after tax.
And though he has ended 21 glittering years of association with Barca, following La Liga’s refusal to register his contract due to the club’s financial difficulties, the Blaugrana still owe their all-time top scorer €39 million.
As per El Mundo, via Colin Millars, Messi’s mindblowing last contract at Barca included a €72 million bonus to mark his unparalleled contributions to the club.
Former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who Messi did not have a productive relationship with, arranged for it to be paid in two different instalments.
The first sum was due in June 2020, with the second following a year later.
Yet the club’s shocking predicament, which includes a debt of more than £1.1 billion and the inability to register their four new signings, meant Messi had only received €8.5m by February 2021.
Clearly Barca are in no position to hand over €39 million to Messi, who had accepted a 50 per cent pay cut on a new contract that still didn’t meet La Liga’s financial regulations.
Neymar also found himself in the same situation when he left for PSG in 2017.
He claimed he did not receive a hefty loyalty bonus that was part of his deal at the Nou Camp and the matter ended up going to court before an agreement was reached.
Given his love for Barcelona and his desire to return in another capacity, it’s unlikely Messi will go down the same route.