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Lionel Messi is reportedly set to receive a huge cash windfall from Barcelona in bonuses even if he leaves the club this summer.
The 33-year-old's future is still up in the air, though it looks likely he will call time on his career at the Nou Camp in favour of pastures new.
Messi admitted in December the club were in a "really bad situation" with "no money" to reinvest in the squad as Barcelona's perilous financial situation was laid bare.
Emi Rousaud, a candidate in the upcoming presidential election, also claimed Messi's current salary was "unsustainable" and Barcelona could not afford to pay him the same rate going forward.
But according to Marca, they are still set to be hit in the pocket whether Messi remains at the club or not.
Lionel Messi is set to pick up the second half of his huge bonus this summer
(Image: Getty Images)
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As per the report based on details published by La Vanguardia, Marca claim Messi is in line to bank another €39million (£34.8m) at the end of the current season.
The fee is one half of a €78m bonus agreed when Messi last renewed his Barca contract in 2017 (which included a €100m wage rise), with the Argentine having already cashed in the other €39m installment.
But rather than the money coming in one lump sum, the agreement will see Messi receive it in eight separate payments over four years.
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That means Barcelona could still be paying Messi in 2025.
The Catalan's talisman could of course yet stay at the club beyond the summer, and admitted a fortnight ago that he was happier now than he was when he slapped in his transfer request back in August.
Man City and PSG remain the two sides most heavily linked with his signature should he move on, but Messi will not make a final decision until the end of the campaign.
What should Messi do about his future? Have your say below.
Messi has been performing well amid Barcelona's upturn in results
(Image: NurPhoto/PA Images)
Should Messi depart, his old teammate Samuel Eto'o has tipped Barcelona youngster Ansu Fati, 18, to fill the legend's boots.
“I think [Fati] is the one for the future," Eto'o told SPORTbible . “He's currently doing amazing stuff so I think the club really needs to groom him and take very good care of him.
“Let's hope he's the one to take over from Messi.”