Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Lionel Messi contract: Barcelona, Inter Miami, Newell’s linked with PSG star; when does deal expire?

It is now February, the winter transfer window is closed and Lionel Messi has still yet to extend his Paris Saint-Germain contract. The Argentina international has returned to club action with the French champions but is far from at his best right now — like his teammates. Messi, 35, is still on a high after winning the FIFA 2022 World Cup with his Albiceleste side in Qatar and reports emerged shortly after that success that PSG were close to tying him down to new terms. However, no extended deal at Parc des Princes has been announced yet and rumors linking him with moves elsewhere have regularly surfaced. So, where are we at with knowing where Messi might be playing his soccer beyond the end of this current season?

We take a look at what we know.

When does Messi’s contract expire?

The former Barcelona man’s current deal is up at the end of this campaign, so he is into the final six months of his contract which means that he is free to discuss potential moves with other clubs. It had been thought that PSG had an option to extend Messi’s deal by an additional year but it appears that the Ligue 1 leaders would actually need to discuss fresh contractual details. You might recall that Messi receives part of his salary in cryptocurrency — a soccer first at the time — and terms such as those might need to be revised along with his basic pay and bonuses.

Why is there no new deal yet?

Messi’s form has been much better this term than in his first season as a player with the French capital outfit. The South American has been more productive and currently has 13 goals and 14 assists with his name with Les Parisiens. PSG went all-out to extend Kylian Mbappe’s contract last year and have been limited financially since then so that is a significant financial consideration when debating Messi’s future.

Does Messi want to stay in Paris?

Despite a difficult adaptation period to life after Barca and Catalonia, Messi is happier now than he ever has been in France. Not only is his family settled but the man from Rosario is playing some of the best soccer of this later period of his career. Given how year two is going overall, it is no surprise that both PSG and Messi would be open to a third campaign together.

Could he leave PSG?

Of course, that is a possibility. At the end of the day, Messi is free to speak with other clubs who could put in an offer which the French giants would be powerless to prevent. However, 36 this summer, the Argentine arguably only has one or two more moves left and one of those potentially being a return to childhood club Newell’s Old Boys suggests that his next one will take him out of Europe. Is Messi ready to leave the UEFA Champions League just yet when he is still building a strong case for an eighth Ballon d’Or? That much is far from certain.

Where could he go?

Former club Barca and Major League Soccer franchise Inter Miami have been strongly linked with moves but both present major hurdles. The Catalan giants remain in financial turmoil which was the reason why Messi was forced to leave Camp Nou in the first place. David Beckham’s MLS side are very much in transition and would probably need a few more high-profile names in order to make the sporting aspect of any potential as attractive as the lure of the Miami lifestyle.

What is the most likely outcome?

Reading between the lines, another year or so in Europe appears to be the most probable solution for Messi’s future right now. If it is literally a question of where he plays his soccer next season, then it makes little to no sense to potentially only move somewhere else for a single campaign when his PSG move needed his second term to hit form. Expect talks between Messi and PSG in the coming weeks to result in an agreement for Messi to continue with the French champions for at least one more year before moving on. The news would be music to Ligue 1’s ears given his importance in potentially helping to secure a new and improved international and domestic TV deal.

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