In the past year we have had stories about how the Messi camp is upset with the club not backing him over his tax situation and how they feel that he has been overused, which is why he has picked up some many injuries.
Barcelona on the other hand has a new shiny toy in Neymar, and the feeling I am getting is that the club does not feel beholden to Messi like they have been in the past.
The most recent example of this are the comments from Barcelona vice-president Javier Faus who says he sees no reason to offer Messi a new contract, despite Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo now earn significantly more.
A lot has changed since Messi signed a new deal at Barcelona last February that pays him a reported €12.5m net, at the time the richest contract in La Liga.
Then over the summer Barca signed Neymar, While his contract is worth only about €7m a tear + €2m performance bonuses, Neymar is reported to have received a €40m signing bonus when he moved from Santos. Once that is added to his wages, Neymar makes considerably move than Messi.
Then earlier in the season, Messi’s biggest rival, Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo signed a new deal that will pay him over €20m euros a year.
Asked by Catalonia Radio whether all this meant it was time for Barca to offer Messi another pay-rise, Faus was dismissive.
“I do not know why we have to do it again,” the blaugrana executive said. “We do not have to improve a contract every six months.”
Actually in this case Barcelona do, and have done, continually improved Messi’s contract, doing so six times over the last eight years.
This summer Barcelona received three offers for Messi, one of them coming from Chelsea and one from Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich. Messi has said previously that he is not interested in leaving the club that he joined as a kid.
But if he starts to feel unwanted and underappreciated at Barcelona, the unthinkable could happen and Lionel Messi could leave Barcelona in the next couple of seasons. Remarkably, there seems to be some at the Camp Nou who don’t think that is a necessary a bad thing, now that they have Neymar.