LONDON. — Lionel Messi is facing the prospect of a £1.1m (US$1.47m) fine and a suspension after missing the start of Barcelona’s pre-season preparations.
The Argentine superstar, who is eager to secure a move away, didn’t report for coronavirus testing on Sunday and wasn’t present as training started yesterday.
According to Marca, Barcelona are set to punish Messi, with the 33-year-old poised to incur “serious penalties’’ as a result of his actions.
Messi, who earns £95m a year, believes that he is no longer an employee of Barcelona but, if he is absent for a third day, he could have his salary withdrawn for 11 days or receive a fine of 25 percent of his monthly salary.
He earns £1.1m per month.
Messi’s fixed yearly salary totals £64m but bonuses for signing, for staying, and for winning trophies takes the figure well above that.
Just by playing 60 percent of games until the 2021 date, when his contract ends, sees Messi earn on average £95m (€106m) a season.
But the potential — if he were to win the treble and win FIFA’s Player of the Year award — exists to push the final figure over the £110m (€122m) mark.
Barcelona president, Josep Bartomeu, is reluctant to punish Messi given his status at the club.
La Liga have ruled that as Messi did not state his desire to leave before June 10, his release clause of £630m (€700m), would still have to paid in order for him to leave.
The Spanish media collectively rejoiced after La Liga chiefs threw their backing behind Barcelona.
Spanish daily Marca asked the question, “what is the price?’’, before accompanying the headline with an image of Messi holding up his fingers.
Likewise, Catalan outlet Mundo Deportivo went bold on the simple headline of “700 millones,’’ giving hope to Barca fans across the entire region that Messi’s exit may not materalise after all.
Midfielder Arturo Vidal hit out at the club for only having “13 professional players,’’ so many youth products in the first team and relying too heavily on Messi.
The Catalan club are in crisis following a trophyless season, compounded by the shock 8-2 Champions League quarter-final defeat by Bayern Munich, earlier this month.
New manager, Ronald Koeman, is planning an overhaul of the squad, which is likely to see experienced stars like Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets make way for younger players.
Vidal told Daniel Habif’s YouTube channel: “Barcelona have to change their way of thinking. Football has moved on a lot and the (whole) DNA (thing) is being left behind because other teams are improving in other aspects. — Mailonline.