Barcelona have announced that Lionel Messi will be offered a new contract after this season to ensure the playmaker remains at Camp Nou beyond 2018.
Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu announced the club’s intent on Monday, following widespread rumors linking Messi to other clubs.
“Messi is under contact until 2018,” Bartomeu told TV3. “But we want to improve it to adapt to football’s current situation.”
While interest in signing Messi is obvious across the board, reports last week linked Manchester City with preparing a $420 million (£250m) bid for the Argentine sensation. By means of comparison, that extraordinary offer would be $288 million more than what Real Madrid handed Tottenham to sign Gareth Bale last summer.
Barcelona’s intention to sweeten Messi’s deal comes on the heels of the year-long transfer market ban FIFA handed the club on April 2nd for alleged violations surrounding the international transfer and registration of 10 players under the age of 18.
That ban, along with the expressed interest from clubs like City, will prompt Barca to focus their next year on completing financial dealings inside the club in order to retain the talent they currently possess. Messi, who has been with the Blaugrana for 14 years now, has given zero inclination of a desire to leave rendering his injury-riddled season in which Barcelona are expected to emerge trophy-less a mere red herring.
According to ESPN’s survey of worldwide sports salaries, Messi is currently the second highest paid soccer player in the world at $50.1 million per year. That figure is a mere $100,000 behind, you guessed it, Cristiano Ronaldo. Expect that blip to change this summer.