Barcelona ‘will have to pay Messi loyalty bonus’ even if he leaves on free

Barcelona will reportedly have to pay Lionel Messi his €33m (£30m) loyalty bonus next summer regardless of whether or not he decides to stay.

Messi's current contract is due to expire at the end of the season and he could decide to walk away for free next summer, after his failed attempts to force a move earlier this year.

According to a report from ESPN, the terms of the deal, which he signed back in 2017, included a €66m (£60m) loyalty bonus.

Messi was already paid half of that bonus back in February and the other half is due when his contract expires in June, meaning he will receive the money irrespective of whether he decides to leave the Nou Camp.

The 33-year-old's future is up in the air after he attempted to leave, with outgoing president Josep Maria Bartomeu a key reason for his unhappiness.

Speaking to Goal, Messi hit out at Bartomeu, saying: "Throughout the year I had been telling the president that I wanted to leave, that the time had come to seek new goals and new directions in my career.

"He told me all the time: 'We'll talk, not now, this and that', but nothing. The president did not give me a clue at what he was really saying.

"What they say is that I did not say it before June 10 – but I repeat, we were in the middle of all the competitions and it was not the moment.

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"But apart from that, the president always told me, 'When the season is over, you decide if you stay or leave', he never set a date, and well, it was simply to make to the club official that he was not following his word, but not to get into a fight because I did not want to fight with the club."

However, Bartomeu has since resigned and it appears Messi's future is dependent on who is elected as his replacement and whether they can convince him to stay.

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