Barcelona were willing to pull out all the stops to tie Lionel Messi down to an extended contract back in 2020 – and the Argentina superstar took full advantage.
Just 12 months before his shock departure from the Nou Camp, Messi was locked in talks with the Spanish giants over fresh terms. And although Barcelona were desperate to get a deal done, they were unable to come to an agreement with Messi, who even tried to force through an exit later that summer.
Certain details of the deal, including some of Messi’s lavish demands, have now been leaked online. But can anyone top Messi’s demand for a private jet and preferential treatment for his old pal, Luis Suarez? Mirror Football takes a look at six of the most bizarre contract demands that have been made down the years…
Details of some of Messi’s contract demands to Barca have been leaked by Spanish newspaper El Mundo, who have obtained a series of emails between the player’s father and agent, Jorge Mendes, his lawyers and former Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu and then-CEO Oscar Grau.
Messi wanted a luxury private box at the Nou Camp for his family and the family of his former Barca teammate, Suarez. Messi also demanded a private to fly him and his family to and from Argentina, as well as a hefty €10m (£8.75m) signing on bonus that would also reimburse him for the wage cut he agreed to during the pandemic.
Barcelona agreed to all of Messi’s requests, bar the removal of a €700million (£613m) release clause, but it was still not enough to keep Messi out of the clutches of PSG.
Join the debate! Can you think of any other big contract demands we’ve missed? Let us know here.
After lighting up Europe during his illustrious playing career, Ronaldinho was determined to enjoy himself after agreeing to return to his homeland with Flamengo back in 2011.
During contract negotiations, Ronaldinho demanded that he would be able to have two nights out a week without any repercussions and a house with a pool. The Brazilian outfit duly obliged – but they soon became sick of Ronaldinho’s wild antics and parted ways with the midfield superstar after just one year.
Ronaldinho was at it again in 2014 when he moved to Mexican outfit Querétaro; he demanded a house that came with butlers, a beach football pitch and a standard 7-a-side pitch.
Former Borussia Dortmund striker Giuseppe Reina had some particularly lavish demands in mind when he was negotiating a move to Arminia Biefield back in 1996 – but it was the German outfit who had the last laugh.
Reina penned a three-year deal with the agreement that the club would build him a new house every year.
However, the 50-year-old failed to specify the size of the houses in his deal – and the club responded by giving him a small LEGO house every year.
Gianluigi Donnarumma came through the ranks at AC Milan before he was lured to France by PSG back in 2021. But prior to running his deal in Italy down, the shot-stopper made some pretty bold contract demands.
Back in 2017, Donnarumma insisted that Milan had to sign his older brother, Antonio, who was also a goalkeeper, to become the club’s third-choice goalkeeper.
Remarkably, the Rossoneri agreed and shelled out £1m to pinch Donnarumma’s brother from Greek outfit Asteras Tripolis. He failed to make a single league appearance during his time at the San Siro and left the club at the same time as his young brother.
Paul Gascoigne was not shy in revealing why he decided to join Tottenham ahead of Manchester United – and it pales in comparison to some of the other demands on this list.
The England superstar revealed that he was won over by the club after they agreed to purchase a sunbed for his sister. Explaining his decision, Gascoigne said: “At that time [Spurs] finished higher. When Spurs offered my family a house and they wouldn’t match it I wanted to look after my mum and dad.
“They offered my sister a sunbed, a sunbed in the contract, which she got.”
Congolese midfielder Rolf-Christel Guie-Mien had some very specific demands that needed to be met during negotiations with Eintracht Frankfurt back in 1999.
Guie-Mien insisted that he would only join the club if they would pay for cooking lessons for his wife – something he said would help him settle in Germany.
The club agreed to the whacky request, with the 44-year-old spending three years on the books in Germany.