22:15 GMT05 August 2021
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    Lionel Messi's contract with Barcelona expired at the end of last month, which means he's now officially a free agent; however the Spanish club is hoping to hold on to the forward in defiance of potential financial issues surrounding a new contract.

    As FC Barcelona struggles to hold on to Argentinian football star Lionel Messi, an adult webcam company has offered to bail the Spanish club out, reported The Daily Star.

    Stripchat is purportedly prepared to offer the La Liga club a lucrative deal: $10 mln (£7.25 mln) to help fund a new contract for Messi, who is currently a free agent, in return for live streaming rights.

    The adult website’s VP of New Media, Max Bennett, is believed to have sent a letter to Barcelona’s president Joan Laporta that reads:

    "As an avid soccer/football fan, I am aware that FC Barcelona is working on finding funds to afford a new contract for the face of your franchise, Lionel Messi. It would be a shame to have Leo, who has been registered as a Barcelona player for 20 years, leave.”

    Barca has been hoping to keep the six-time Ballon d'Or winner at the Nou Camp, since his contract expired at the end of June. However, a number of factors could throw a spanner in the works, though, such as the salary limit introduced by La Liga several years ago to "maintain the sustainability of the division".

    Soccer Football - Copa America 2021 - Group A - Argentina v Paraguay - Estadio Mane Garrincha, Brasilia, Brazil - June 21, 2021 Argentina's Lionel Messi in action
    © REUTERS / UESLEI MARCELINO
    Soccer Football - Copa America 2021 - Group A - Argentina v Paraguay - Estadio Mane Garrincha, Brasilia, Brazil - June 21, 2021 Argentina's Lionel Messi in action
    "In an effort to help fund his contract, I wanted to offer $10 mln to become the live streaming partner for Barca for the upcoming season. At Stripchat, we specialise in broadcasting quality adult live streams to 420 million fans monthly across the world. Leveraging our technology and network, we could give a different kind of pleasure by live streaming soccer/football and Messi to the world!" the letter sent to FC Barcelona ostensibly says.

    The club’s president Joan Laporta announced to Spanish media on 2 July that contract negotiations with the forward are “progressing as expected" and that they would like the matter “to be concluded as quickly as possible.” Laporta was scheduled to meet with La Liga chief Javier Tebas to try and find a way to extend Messi’s stay at the club, reported the Daily Express reports.

    Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their third goal
    © REUTERS / ALBERT GEA
    Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their third goal

    The Spanish club has been forced to consider trimming wages as its income is believed to have shrunk by about 300 million euros during the past 12 months amid the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

    Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Lionel Messi has spent his entire professional career at Barcelona. Laporta was cited by Spanish media as saying:

    "We want him to stay and Leo wants to stay; everything is on track. We still have the financial fair play [issue] to sort out ... we're in the process of finding the best solution for all parties."

    Related:

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    How Much Do Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi Make Off One Instagram Post?
    Barcelona Trying to Tie Messi Down to New Deal But La Liga Wage Limit is Stumbling Block
    Tags:
    Lionel Messi, Lionel Messi, Ballon d'Or, Ballon d'Or, FC Barcelona
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