In Brief

Lionel Messi will be offered £500,000-a-week to stay at Barcelona

Striker’s £80m bonus to be funded by selling the Camp Nou naming rights

It’s amazing what a hat-trick can do for a player’s career. Last month The Sun reported that Lionel Messi was being linked with a £357million move to Manchester City, but according to the Daily Mail the Argentine striker is “set to sign a record-breaking new contract with an £80m bonus”.

Messi single-handedly revived his country’s World Cup fortunes on Tuesday, scoring all of Argentina’s goals in the 3-1 win against Ecuador that secured their place in next year’s tournament.

That seems to have spurred Barcelona into action with reports in Spain suggesting that Messi will commit his future to the Catalan club with an eye-watering new contract when his existing deal expires in June.

How much will the eyes water? To the tune of £500,000-a-week, and that’s after he pockets an £80m signing-on bonus.

Not surprisingly, the bonus will be the highest in football history and Barca will fund the deal by selling the naming rights to the Camp Nou.

Catalan newspaper L’Ara reported earlier in the week that the club’s wage bill is now in excess of £430m, which is 84 per cent of their revenue. Although chief executive Oscar Grau boasted on Wednesday that “the club is in a very solvent, positive position. We are doing things sensibly”.

Their solvency will likely be increased shortly with reports stating that the club are close to agreeing a sponsorship deal with sports giant Nike.

It’s believed that Barcelona have hired sports business experts Van Wagner to help them sell the naming rights, with reports stating that they will demand £180m in return.

The prospect of putting one’s name to one of the most iconic sports stadiums in the world will be all the more attractive given that Barcelona are set to embark on a major renovation of the Camp Nou.

The refurbishment, which will start in 2019 and take around two years, is expected to cost close to £500m and will include a new roof, HD scoreboards, luxurious corporate facilities and an increase in capacity from 99,000 to 105,000.

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