FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has been free to negotiate with other clubs since Jan. 1. His contract with the Catalan giants expires in June, and it remains unclear if they will be offering him a contract extension. In the meantime, the latest evaluation shows that the Argentine's value has fallen by 20 million euros.
Popular industry website Transfermarkt has pegged Messi's value to be at 80 million euros. This is the first time in over a decade that his projected value has fallen below 100 million euros.
The 33-year-old forward was unable to complete a transfer away from Barcelona last summer due to a massive release clause worth €700 million (£630m/$825m). With his contract expiring on June 30, this clause will no longer come into play. With his value falling even further, it will be easier for other clubs to swoop in.
At the moment, Messi is valued below Barca's teenage sensation Ansu Fati. The other players who are valued higher are Joao Felix and Jan Oblak.
According to Tobias Blaseio, the manager of Transfermarkt for Spain, "Messi is slowly reaching the final years of his career and Barcelona are going through an institutional crisis. After almost 10 years of having a value above 100m euros, now he has suffered this 20m euro fall."
Messi's performance this season has not helped his cause. A mediocre start of the season has allowed Fati to shine in Barcelona's attack. His age is also working against him. Not many clubs are able to afford Messi's services at this time, especially with the financial blow resulting from the novel coronavirus pandemic.
With most clubs having to resort to pay cuts, very few will be looking to bring in a player that commands a hefty paycheck. FC Barcelona has also changed its tone in recent months. Before his resignation, former president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted that Messi is an integral part of the club. However, those who are running for the position to replace him are singing to a different tune.