The Barcelona forward is set to become world’s highest-paid player ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Barcelona will make Lionel Messi the world’s highest-paid player, with the four-time Ballon d’Or winner poised to earn more than £335,000 per week.
That is the pledge of club president Josep Maria Bartomeu just two days after the Argentina star’s hat-trick defeated Real Madrid and put Barca back in the title race.
“We all want Messi to be the best-paid player in the world and that is what we are working on,” said Bartomeu. “Right now we are concentrating on the competitions we are in but it will happen soon.
“Nobody here wants to sell Messi. He arrived here when he was 13 and he is one of ours.”
Barcelona made their first offer to Messi’s father and agent, Jorge, earlier this year. It is understood the offer, which included ending his entitlement to 100 per cent of his image rights, did not impress the player and led to a freezing of relations between club and record goalscorer.
The situation reached crisis point in late 2013 when Vice-president Javier Faus said: “I don’t know why this “senor” needs another contract anyway because we improved his deal only six months ago.”
Messi responded by saying Faus knew ‘nothing about football’ and stories confirming that various clubs including several from the Premier League had made, or would be willing to make, offers to buy Messi began to surface.
But the landscape has changed at Barcelona in recent weeks with the departure of Sandro Rosell.
New man Bartomeu is under pressure to deliver what the supporters want in his first six months in charge and top of that list is tying down Messi, who is currently signed until 2018. The deal, expected to be discussed when Jorge Messi sits down with Bartomeu before the April 16 Copa del Rey final, will add another year to the player’s commitment taking him to 2019 and will take him beyond Cristiano
Ronaldo’s estimated €15million net deal (after tax), which works out around £330,000 per week.