Despite continuously dismissing exit talks, rumours of Lionel Messi leaving Camp Nou won’t dry out, but only these six clubs could reportedly afford his €500 million package.
It all started with the 1-0 defeat to Sociedad when coach Luis Enrique left his superstar on the bench.
Messi subsequently missed the Monday training session with reports emerging the Argentine and Enrique had clashed behind the scenes.
The 27-year-old sent out mixed messages to reporters, labeling exit rumours as ‘lies’ but didn’t want to confirm he’ll be at Camp Nou next year.
However, any suitors would have to produce Messi’s full €250 million buyout clause, particularly since the Catalan giants wouldn't be allowed to sign a replacement until 2016 (due to their transfer ban).
In addition, a wage package of around €50 million before tax would reportedly be required to lure the Argentine away from Camp Nou.
With most media outlets assuming Messi would want to sign a five-year contract at any new club, interested clubs would therefore have to splash out another €250 million in salary costs over five years.
Only six European clubs, namely Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, could possibly afford such a mega deal.
However, Chelsea, Manchester City and PSG are understood to be restricted by Financial Fair Play restrictions, leaving only a small number of potential suitors.
For now, it seems as Messi will stay at Camp Nou, but like he said at the recent Ballon d’Or gala, “who knows what will happen next year.”
Where would you like to see Lionel Messi, if he would leave FC Barcelona? Have your say in the comments section below.