La Liga 2016/17: Lionel Messi offered €500 million to leave Barcelona by Chinese club - Reports
Barcelona have been left shell-shocked after Lionel Messi was offered a staggering €500 million to leave the Catalans and join Chinese Super League outfit Hebei China Fortune. Reports in Spain claim the Argentinian star is mulling a move to China after contract negotiations with La Liga giants stalled, with Messi being tempted to consider becoming the highest paid player in the world, by some margin.
According to a report in Spanish newspaper AS, Hebei China Fortune are willing to pay Messi a whopping €100 million salary annually over five years, which will earn the Argentine star half a billion euros after tax over the course of the deal. Manuel Pellegrini, who is the manager of the Chinese Super League club founded in 2010, has authorised the audacious bid to bring in Barcelona’s superstar to China.
Hebei China Fortune already made former Paris St-Germain star Ezequiel Lavezzi the highest paid player in the world in the summer and are hoping that Lavezzi’s international teammate will follow suit, as they look to make a splash in their first season in China’s first division.
Barcelona remain hopeful of tying Messi down to a new deal
While Barcelona cannot offer Lionel Messi the staggering amounts being thrown about by Chinese clubs, the Catalan giants are hoping that his telepathic understanding with Luis Suarez and Neymar Jr. to form the ‘MSN’ trio will keep him at the club.
The La Liga giants have already tied down Luis Suarez to a new deal that will see him remain at Barcelona until 2021, although they are still concerned with Messi’s future since his deal runs out in 2018. Barcelona have reportedly offered Messi a mammoth €35 million annually in a bid to see him remain at the club he has been with since he was 13 years old, although HCF’s offer dwarfs that by a considerable margin.
With Neymar also signing a contract extension in October, Messi remains the final piece of the puzzle for Barcelona as they hope to retain the MSN trio. Luis Suarez urged his teammate to remain, saying “My happiness will be complete only if Messi renews his contract as well. But my renewal is not a message to Messi. He is old enough to know what is good for him.”