Now that Lionel Messi is officially a free agent, there has been a lot of talk surrounding his fate. Details about what FC Barcelona is offering him have been the talk of the town in recent weeks, but his previous contract with the Blaugrana has also been scrutinised. Interestingly, even some NBA stars have been left shocked by what Messi has been earning.

NBA players are some of the world's top earning individuals. However, judging by the reactions of Kevin Durant and Isaiah Thomas, they would very much prefer to be earning a top footballer's wages.

On June 30, business publication Boardroom shared details of Messi's recently-expired four-year deal with Barcelona, which has an estimated value of 555 million euros. "Lionel Messi's 4-year/$674M deal with @FCBarcelona — the largest in sports history by a landslide — expires today," read the tweet, alongside a photo of the Argentine superstar.

The post was shared on the day Messi officially became a free agent, a status that has not yet changed until now. In response to the news, Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant took a look at the $164 million contract that he just signed for a new four-year deal and said, "Insane."

Meanwhile, Former New Orleans Pelicans player Isaiah Thomas, who is currently also a free agent like Messi, had a hilarious realisation about the discrepancy in what a top footballer can earn and what other athletes can rake in. He also replied to the tweet and said, "OMG. I gotta put my kids in Futbol lol."

Despite the mind-blowing value of his previous deal, it is believed that Barcelona is currently offering Messi a contract extension with a massive pay cut. Obviously, the amount would still be eye-watering for most people, but Messi's earnings will be significantly reduced due to the club's financial struggles.

FC Barcelona has been deep in debt and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has not helped their situation at all. Revenues from ticket sales have been lost from the previous season, and they are now facing a financial fair play dilemma due to the fact that their expenditures are far beyond what they are earning.

Club president Joan Laporta admitted that Messi's new contract signing has been delayed due to this financial dilemma within the club, and they are now scrambling for a solution before they can officially re-sign the Argentine.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi AFP / LLUIS GENE