There’s just one week to go until Lionel Messi’s contract with Barcelona comes to an end. On June 30th, he’ll officially become a free agent, no longer contracted to the Blaugrana for the first time since September 2000. Joan Laporta is desperate to retain his captain, but the Argentine is yet to make a decision on his future according to Marca.
Messi is currently in Brazil, captaining Argentina at the Copa America. Barcelona still believe that he’ll renew his deal and continue at Camp Nou, although they would have liked to have closed the operation prior to June 30th.
Barcelona want Messi to stay at Barcelona for the next two seasons on an annual salary of €50m gross per campaign, less than half what he currently earns. That would be followed with ten years as a club ambassador, where he could play in MLS if he so desired, earning €10m per season.
Messi is of incredible importance to Barcelona in more ways than one. His on-field contribution is second to none, with the Argentine winning the Pichichi award last season, but he’s also tied to about one third of the club’s income in sponsorship and marketing. There’s also the emotional pain his departure would cause the Barcelona supporters.
But he won’t be rushed. Messi is the only one who knows what he’s going to do next, and he’ll take his time before arriving to his decision. For now, his focus is solely on Argentina and doing a good job leading his beloved nation at the Copa America.