Lionel Messi faces a complicated situation if his new Barcelona contract has not gone through in the coming weeks.
The Argentine superstar remains a free agent with Barca not able to make his new two-year deal official until they come under the La Liga salary cap.
It’s though the Catalan giants will need to shift as much as €175million to get the deal ratified, and while they have made good progress, they have a significant amount of work to do.
And there might just be a three-week deadline, because that is when Messi is due to link up with the club for pre-season.
He is currently at Copa América with Argentina, set to face Brazil this evening in the final, so he won’t be part of the Barca group that returns on Monday.
After three weeks of time off, he is set to return to Barcelona to begin pre-season training on August 2 ahead of the La Liga start date, which is just two weeks later.
But what happens if he has not signed the contract by then?
Messi is still free to train with the club without a contract, as a free agent, but he would not be entitled to medical treatment should he pick up an injury.
That could force him to stay away from Barca training given how much an injury is worth to a player like Messi.
Though, it’s also possible that he could sign an agreement to guarantee him medical treatment should anything go wrong.
The question also becomes whether he would work for free to prepare for the new season, or whether he would prefer to do the work individually.
Thankfully, those are questions for a later time as far as Barcelona are concerned, but three weeks is not a long time given the amount of money they need to shift, so they might want to consider working on some answers ahead of the start of August.