BARCELONA: Barcelona’s new president, panicked into revealing the astronomical Neymar pay deal, has rushed to promise Lionel Messi a new contract to ward off a predatory bid from Paris Saint-Germain writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Only two months ago Barcelona’s finance director Javier Faus was insisting that “we cannot keep improving his contract every six months.”
However the revelations that Brazilian forward Neymar and his family have been guaranteed not far short of €100m over the next fuve years – not counting his own sponsorship contracts – has pushed Josep Maria Bartomeu into a change of heart.
In an interview with radio station RAC1 and which, significantly, was then lodged on the club’s website, Bartomeu said: “The club will sit down and negotiate a new contract. We will do what we have to, to ensure he’s the best-paid player.”
French champions PSG, backed by an apparently bottomless Qatari bank account, are ready to make a money-no-object bid for any of the world’s superstars, whether Cristiano Ronaldo or Messi or anyone else.
Messi’s current contract is not due to expires until 2018 but reputedly he was not oblivious to Ronaldo’s having secured a massive new contract during the summer with Real Madrid.
The Argentinian scored 60 goals in 50 appearances last season but, even though Barcelona lead the league table, he has been restricted this season by injuries.
Even so, ‘restricted’ by Messi’s high standards still means 18 goals (eight in the league) and 36 assists in 20 appearances.
Bartomeu took over as president last Thursday after the resignation of Sandro Rosell under pressure over the true, hidden cost of the Neymar deal.
Barcelona had always insisted they paid €57.1m but the overall effective cost has been conceded by Bartomeu as closer to €95m.
** Media reports in Barcelona claim that former president Sandro Rosell and his family are to move to London.