BARCELONA: Lionel Messi became a free agent yesterday but Barcelona remain confident they will be able to end negotiations to renew the striker’s contract.
Messi’s contract with Barcelona expired at midnight on Wednesday and he has yet to sign a new deal to remain at Camp Nou.
However, it is understood that negotiations are now in the final stages and Barcelona is expected to make an official announcement on the matter in the near future.
According to a source to ESPN, Barcelona is currently in the process of discussions with La Liga and the tax office to ensure no problems arise in the future.
La Liga president Javier Tebas has previously warned Barcelona that they may not be able to sign Messi if they do not make spending cuts in the team.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Barcelona paid the highest salary with an estimated 600 million euros a season.
However, the expenditure was reduced to 300 million euros after the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
Messi’s last contract signed in 2017 was estimated to be worth 500 million euros for a period of four years, including salary, bonuses and image ownership.
Barcelona, who are estimated to have a debt of 1 billion euros, cannot afford to pay Messi the same amount of salary and need to be creative in offering a contract to the Argentine international striker.