Cinto Ajram – who has helped the Catalan giants negotiate multiple sponsorship deals in recent years – has claimed the Argentine superstar wanting out of the club has contributed to the Blaugrana losing in excess of €25m in their renewed sponsorship with Rakuten.
As reported by El Mundo Deportivo earlier this week, the club had agreed a one-year extension to their ongoing sponsorship deal with the Japanese company through to 2022.
The option was activated by the since-departed Josep Maria Bartomeu’s board and is not reviewable by whoever wins the forthcoming election.
The original deal, which had been signed in 2017, had been set to expire in 2021 but has now been renewed although the terms of the deal reveal a potential significant hit to Barcelona, according to Ajram.
The sports marketing expert has told an interview with Spanish press agency EFE and in quotes carried by Diario Sport that the club had been receiving €55m plus add-ons with their original deal, but that is now reduced to €30m plus add-ons.
Ajram explained: “Money is being reduced from companies everywhere but this reduction to €30m is less to do with Rakuten’s financial position but the uncertainty on Messi’s future.
“I am not sure if the agreement is now worth as much as €30m – the first agreement was signed when Messi played with Luis Suarez and Neymar, with the huge commercial benefits that brought – now two have gone and the other one wants out.
“People think of Barcelona through Messi and the uncertainty over his future means no sponsorship will want to commit to a long-term deal with the club.”