FC Barcelona are busy trying to balance their books, but it has been revealed that the club have yet another financial obligation that they need to fulfill. As it turns out, former captain Lionel Messi is still owed a €39 million fee as part of a "loyalty bonus" even though he has now departed the club/
Messi became a free agent back on June 30, and as of Tuesday, he has officially signed for Paris Saint-Germain. He and the Catalan club had claimed that they wanted to continue their relationship, but Barcelona's failure to comply with La Liga Santander's financial far play regulations made it impossible for them to retain the Argentine's services.
However, according to a report by Spanish publication El Mundo, Barcelona should have paid Messi a €39m loyalty bonus back in July. It is supposedly the second installment of a bonus that was injected by Josep Maria Bartomeu in Messi's previous contract with the club.
Details of Messi's final contract with the Catalan giants were leaked back in January, and this bonus clause was part of the deal. The loyalty bonus is similar to one that had been given to Neymar Jr., who found himself embroiled in a legal battle with the Blaugrana for several years after he had left the Camp Nou.
In Neymar's case, a settlement was agreed just last month, in which the club paid an undisclosed amount to cover any arrears they may have still owed the Brazilian. It is unclear if Messi's bonus was paid before he made the trip to Paris, or if he was also unable to make a clean break away from his previous club.
President Joan Laporta is under a lot of pressure to generate funds and slash their wage bill for the coming season. Sporting director Mateu Alemany has been working hard to offload players from their roster, without much success. They are still unable to register all of their new signing this summer, and Barcelona are running out of time to get their financial crisis in check.