Barcelona are set to offer Lionel Messi a deal worth up to four times less than his previous contract in Catalonia in accordance with the wishes of LaLiga, according to reports.
The World Cup winner previously earnt a gargantuan £122million-a-year salary after signing his £491m contract with the club in 2016, but reduced his salary to £65m after the 2019/20 season was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Messi left the club for Paris Saint-Germain in 2021 on a free transfer after Barcelona’s financial woes barred them from offering the superstar a new contract.
But the move felt forced on both sides, with the Argentine playmaker openly weeping as he called time on his 19-year stint in Spain.
Although Barcelona’s financial crisis rolls on – with the club forced to raise £178m before signing new players during the upcoming transfer window – they are doing everything necessary to secure Messi’s return.
Barcelona are set to hand Messi a contract worth four times less than his previous deal
Messi spent 19 years in Catalonia and his unhappy exit has not led to him finding joy at PSG
As per Spanish outlet Sport, this means that Barca will look to hand the player a contract worth an estimated £22m-a-year (€25m) in a substantial wage cut.
The proposed deal would tie Messi to his former club for two years, with an option for the player to terminate his contract after the first year.
With Messi’s contract at PSG expiring this summer and neither party likely to want to extend the relationship, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner faces an uncertain future.
Deals for Messi to feature in either the MLS for Inter Miami or the Saudi Pro League at Al-Hilal have been discussed but rumours of an emotional return to the Camp Nou have grown louder as the season draws to a close.
But due to Barcelona’s desperate financial straits, the deal will need to meet the league’s requirements to go ahead.
Joan Laporta (L) has been on the charm offensive to tempt Messi back but Javier Tebas stressed that Barca had to meet LaLiga’s financial requirements
LaLiga president Javier Tebas on Wednesday highlighted this point, and said that Barcelona had to make the right ‘movements’ in the window.
‘Hopefully Barcelona will make the necessary moves for Messi to enter [the league again].
‘Hopefully it can be done. I am a Messi fan and I want him to play in our competition, but we’re not going to change anything.
‘Barcelona can make the movements to be able to do it. They are numerous and complicated, but they can do it.’