Barcelona officials have become worried that Lionel Messi’s €700m release clause could be triggered after Neymar’s unexpected departure last summer.
Messi signed a new deal with the Catalan giants in November, with his old deal set to expire this summer, and his release clause was lowered from €1bn to its current value, which equates to around £625m.
That amount was thought by the club to be more than enough to ward off any interest from potential suitors but Barcelona’s financial and strategy director Pancho Schroder admitted that’s what they thought about Neymar’s buy-out clause too, until he moved to Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record fee.
“We set up a clause which we think is enough to have Messi retire at FC Barcelona,” Schroder told Sky Sports. “But having said that, we thought a year ago that the clause for Neymar was also good enough to retain the player, and that proved last summer not to be the case.
“Looking at the future, I think, is difficult, but I don’t have a crystal ball and these days things are getting a little bit crazy.”