FC Barcelona

Lionel Messi 'takes first steps' to stay at Barcelona

Robbie Copeland
Apr 29, 2021, 4:00 PM GMT+1
Messi has informed Joan Laporta of his decision
Messi has informed Joan Laporta of his decision | Aitor Alcalde Colomer/Getty Images

Lionel Messi has taken the 'first step' towards staying at Barcelona next season, after his father told club president Joan Laporta that he no longer wants to leave.

Messi's father Jorge acts as a confidante and representative and was heavily involved in the fallout a year ago when the player declared he wanted to leave and handed in a transfer request.

That was blocked at the time by former president Jose Maria Bartomeu and Messi was forced to stay at the club against his will.

With just a year left on his deal, it seemed then like 2020/21 would be his final season as a Barcelona player. But Bartomeu has since been replaced by Laporta, who enjoys a good relationship with the captain and sees him as a central part of the team going forward.

Reports earlier this year suggested Messi had laid out a number of demands if he were to stay at the club. He wanted serious changes to the club's disastrous recruitment strategy, as well as a focus on youth development to restore the identity that brought the club to prominence under Pep Guardiola.

He made those clear in discussions with Laporta, and it was reported on Thursday that the player's dad met with the president and left him feeling 'very positive' about Messi's future.

The outcome of those talks has now been revealed by Spanish TV station RTVE, who are reporting that Messi wants to stay.

It's likely that Messi will have to take a substantial wage cut in order to secure a new deal. His current salary is off the scale; Mundo Deportivo reported back in January that he rakes in €138m per season, enough to make him 'the highest paid athlete in the history of sport.'

Those estimations seem on the high side, but in any case it's likely that a drop of 10-20% will be required considering Barca's financial predicament.

His salary isn't likely to be a sticking point, however. Messi's primary concern is the sustainability of the club going forward and their ability to compete at the top of European football. Now he seems convinced they are well-placed on both fronts, a new deal may not be too far away.