September 20, 2021

Priceless Messi has years left in him but nobody will pay €700m, says ex-Real Madrid president

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The Argentina star is ready to leave Camp Nou ahead of the new campaign but Ramon Calderon doubts interested clubs will be able to afford him

Ramon Calderon expects Barcelona to agree a reduced fee for the transfer of “priceless” captain Lionel Messi.

Messi has asked to leave Barca – his only senior club – after a difficult season at Camp Nou in which they failed to win a trophy amid tension between the board and the talismanic forward.

The 33-year-old has a clause in his contract that allows him to terminate his deal and leave the club for free at the end of each season.

It is claimed Messi intends to activate this clause, yet Barca reportedly believe the option has already expired for this year, despite the 2019-20 season having been prolonged by the coronavirus pandemic.

Rival clubs would otherwise have to pay €700 million (£627m/$828m) to release Messi from his contract, a fee that would appear beyond any suitor between the demands of Financial Fair Play and the impact of the global crisis.

But Calderon, the former Real Madrid president, is confident Josep Maria Bartomeu will accept a compromise.

“I am pretty sure they will reach a friendly agreement,” Calderon told Stats Perform News . “They have had 20 years together.

“Messi has given his best for Barcelona, and Barcelona have given their all to Messi. They have won many titles together. He has won six Ballons d’Or.

“I am convinced they will not go for a legal fight and they will solve it in a friendly way. It would be what I would try, and I am sure Bartomeu [as Barcelona president] will do the same.

“I know him. He is a calm man, and he will look for the best solution for both. There is no need to go for any legal fight or any controversy.”

Messi’s significant wage packet represents another stumbling block, but Calderon believes the forward offers value for money – even if a cut-price deal with Barca might be required.

Juventus paid just €100m (£90m/$117m) to Madrid for Messi’s great rival Cristiano Ronaldo two years ago, a fee Calderon considers a relative bargain.

“Obviously, I would be enthusiastic if I was the president of any club who can sign [Messi],” Calderon said. “It is true he is 33, but I am sure he has still three or four years at his best level ahead of him.

“Having said that, how can you pay for him? Real Madrid gave a gift selling Cristiano Ronaldo for €100m because he is showing he is still really valuable and will be for another couple of years.

“I don’t know – [the fee] is something that has to be fixed. I am sure nobody will pay €700m, but that will not be the point.

“I am also sure Messi will try to get any fee for Barcelona. How many million? I honestly don’t know.

“The club who sign him will be lucky but also will have a huge salary to be paid. He really deserves it, though. The value he adds to a team is priceless.”