Naija News recalls that the Argentine international departed Camp Nou last year to sign for Paris Saint Germain (PSG).
There have been a series of speculations on why Messi could not renew his contract with Barcelona at the time. Some quarters alleged Barcelona wanted the striker to play for free for the remaining days of his career at Camp Nou.
However, a leaked memo has shown nine demands the Argentine made from Barcelona to extend his deal with the club in 2020.
See below, nine demands according to El-Mundo Messi allegedly made from Barcelona before leaving for PSG:
1. Three-year contract extension
While most top clubs would only want to offer players over 30 a one-year extension, Messi reportedly demanded a three-year extension at Camp Nou. Messi was 33 at the time and wanted to commit long-term.
2. Private box for himself and Luis Suarez’s family
Messi according to the memo wanted a private box for his family and his Uruguayan friend, Luis Suarez.
The duo have been friends since Suarez joined Barcelona in 2014 and the former wanted to look after his fellow forward.
3. €10 million renewal bonus
Messi is said to have also demanded an €10 million renewal bonus. The first condition the club reportedly rejected.
Naija News understands that Barcelona at the time was faced with financial difficulties. The club couldn’t pay Messi what he thought he deserved. Only PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe has been paid in that region for a renewal.
4. Elimination of release clause
Messi was happy to commit but wanted flexibility in his contract. He wanted his release clause lowered from €700 million reduced to just €10,000. It means he could’ve moved whenever and wherever he wanted. The second term Barcelona refused to agree to.
5. Repayment of wage cuts with interest
During the COVID-19 pandemic, every Barcelona player took a wage cut, Naija News recalls. Messi who was among them at the time, however, requested his full wages back plus three per cent interest.
6. A private plane during Christmas
The Argentina international wanted a way to fly back himself and his family to their homeland for the holidays.
7. Wage raise with tax
Messi wanted his net salary to remain the same should the Spanish government choose to raise taxes.
8. Continuity of personal assistant
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner had a personal assistant, Pepe Costa, who was paid by Barcelona during his final years in Catalonia. Costa’s future was in doubt during the pandemic, but Messi insisted he keep his job.
9. Commission to his brother
The final demand was a commission for his brother, Rodrigo Messi. Why did Barcelona agree to this? Rodrigo was representing teenage prodigy Ansu Fati at the time and knew negotiations with him were upcoming. It was effectively doing two bits of business.