Barcelona could be set to pay Lionel Messi no less than €39 million, as a result of some clauses added in his last contract renewal in 2017.
According to a report by Spanish outlet Diaro GOL, the Blaugrana agreed to a basic salary of over €100 million, as well as a bonus that amounts to €78 million over two installments.
Barcelona have already fulfilled their obligation on the first payment last year, but might struggle to pay the outstanding amount at the due date.
The Catalans are currently suffering from heavy financial losses heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, and they might not be able to pay Lionel Messi as he potentially leaves.
However, reports suggest that an alternative is in place to make the second payment across eight semi-annual installments until 2025, which could help soften the blow of paying it up at once.
Lionel Messi has less than six months left on his contract with Barcelona, but it is understood that this pending payment must be made regardless of whether he stays or leaves.
The Rosario native has been with the Catalan giants since 2001 and has progressed through the ranks to become the single most important player in the history of the illustrious club.
So far, he has made 752 appearances in all competitions, setting records too numerous to list out.
There is, however, a real possibility that he could leave the club this summer, having submitted a transfer request last August before rescinding.
Lionel Messi and his leading charge at Barcelona this season
Barcelona are in fine form
The campaign started on a low note for Barcelona, with the club struggling with negativity both on and off the field.
However, the Blaugrana have hit a purple patch in recent weeks and their charge on the field has been led by their talisman.
Lionel Messi has scored four goals and provided one assist in his last three games to help Barcelona climb up to third on the La Liga table.
The 33-year-old currently leads the way in the race for a record-extending eighth Pichichi award.
Barcelona are currently on an eight-game unbeaten run in La Liga and there are signs that they could be in line for a belated title challenge.
It remains to be seen if they will successfully overtake the capital sides at the summit.
However, if Lionel Messi is to depart the club at the end of the season, it cannot be argued that he deserves the most fitting on-field farewell for his services to Barcelona.