Explaining Lionel Messi's contract situation & why it's unlikely he'll leave

Various contracts have been signed but Messi's signature's still missing

However, there would be some problems if he did decide to leave the club

Leo Messi, la estrella del FC Barcelona
Leo Messi, la estrella del FC Barcelona | AFP

Lionel Messi has an agreement with Barcelona to renew his contract with the club. The Catalan club revealed as much on July 5, 2017, when they announced the Argentine would remain tied to Camp Nou until 2021. President Josep Maria Bartomeu has repeated various times since then that the agreement is in place. According to Bartomeu and his board, everything is agreed and valid and it's just the "protocol" of the photograph which is required. A photograph, nevertheless, which has still not taken place. 

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Bartomeu himself insisted on Tuesday, ahead of the Champions League game against Juventus, that the supporters can be relaxed about Messi's situation. Speaking to the television cameras, Bartomeu said that "the photoghraph will be done" and insisted that Messi's father and brother, as his agents and directors of his Foundation, have signed the three contracts which have been drawn up: one for the Leo Messi Foundation, another for image rights and the final one is the employment contract, which has been signed his father, who as his agent has the power to do so. So where is the problem? 

The problem, according to RAC1's Jordi Baste, is that the employment contract must also be signed by Messi. If the player doesn't give it the green light, he has the right, supposedly, to sign for another European club. However, the image rights of the player would be owned by Barça. That's to say, Messi would be playing, for exampled, for Manchester United, but Barcelona would be able to exploit his image rights. 

That would create an unsustainable situation between Barcelona and the player and, for that reason, it's unlikely that Leo Messi leaves the club. 

As Bartomeu advanced, the contract was signed on June 30 (2017) and has been audited in the club's accounts for last season. All that's needed is for Messi to sign and have his photograph taken. The Argentine, then, as Bartomeu says, "will play for Barça until he says enough." 

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