As it turns out, Lionel Messi may continue to cause a financial dent on the coffers of FC Barcelona even if he leaves the club at the end of his contract this summer. According to new reports, the club might need to pay the Argentine massive bonuses long after he has left.

It is no secret that Messi attempted to leave Camp Nou last summer. His plan was thwarted by a massive 700 million euro release clause that no club was willing to pay nor was Barcelona willing to compromise.

With the six-time Ballon d'Or winner's contract coming to an end in June, no news has surfaced about a proposed extension. If Messi does end up leaving, it will be on a free transfer that is the first of many financial blows for the Catalan giants.

According to Spanish publication La Vanguardia, Messi's annual salary has now reached around 100 million euros and his latest contract also included a 79 million euro bonus which was divided into two payments of 39 million each.

The payment of these bonuses were reportedly delayed, with the first half having been paid only in the summer of 2020. The second half is reportedly scheduled to be paid only after the Argentine's current contract expires in June.

Marca claims that the 39 million euro bonus will be paid in "eight parts across four years." This means that even if Messi decides to leave this summer, Barca will be bound to him until 2025 by virtue of back payments. This brings back the situation with Neymar Jr., who is still currently embroiled in numerous lawsuits about back payments from Barcelona despite having left for Paris Saint-Germain back in 2017.

With the financial blow brought about by the novel coronavirus pandemic, Barcelona has been looking for ways to cut costs. They have been implementing pay cuts across the organisation since late last year, and it is not clear if Messi's bonuses are affected.

They have also off-loaded several high-value players, and it remains to be seen if they will gamble on losing their captain if it means freeing up some wiggle room in their payroll.

Lionel Messi
Messi could leave Barcelona this summer AFP / Cesar Manso