Lionel Messi to earn staggering loyalty bonus despite trying to leave Barcel

Lionel Messi is in line for a staggering €33million loyalty bonus from Barcelona, despite his attempt to engineer his departure from the club back in the summer.

The 33-year-old signed his most recent contract extension three years ago and has already been paid half of the €66m he is owed, with the rest of the money due when his current deal expires in the summer.

Messi infamously handed in a transfer request shortly after Barcelona’s harrowing 8-2 Champions League defeat against Bayern Munich, but the club refused to sanction his departure and the Argentine was eventually forced to perform a U-turn, rather than enter into a protracted legal battle.

The majority of Messi’s ire was reserved for former president Josep Bartomeu, who ultimately resigned a fortnight ago, but the club’s talismanic captain will wait for the outcome of the impending elections before deciding whether or not to commit the remaining years of his career to Barcelona.

Barcelona are currently in the midst of a financial crisis and, according to ESPN, need to trim a further €190m from their wage bill, despite getting the likes of Ivan Rakitic, Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal off their books during the close season.

The club’s hierarchy is continuing in its attempts to negotiate a number of wage deferrals and although several players have signed new deals on reduced terms, there is still work that needs to be done to ease the burden.

Ronald Koeman, who replaced Quique Setien as head coach in the summer, was handed a meagre transfer budget to work with and missed out on the likes of Memphis Depay and Georginio Wijnaldum.

Barcelona are currently eighth in the Spanish league table having lost three of their opening eight fixtures, including the Clasico against Real Madrid at Camp Nou last month.

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