If you don’t ask, you won’t get.
This is certainly the mindset that Lionel Messi had when he went to renegotiate his contract with Barcelona in 2020.
And the Spanish media leaked the details of his demands to the public on Tuesday evening, revealing that the Argentine star wants the Catalan giants to provide his family and that of Luis Suarez with executive funds at the Nou Camp.
Lionel Messi made some extravagant demands during his negotiations with Barcelona in 2020
That was not all, as Messi also demanded a £8.7m registration fee, a 10 per cent salary increase in 2021-22 and 2022-23 at 3 per cent annual interest, and a private plane to fly his family to and from Argentina every Christmas.
To end it all, he wanted the club to lower the takeover clause from £610m to just £8,700.
Barcelona agreed to all but two of Messi’s demands – they were unwilling to lower the takeover clause to £8,700, and wanted to make his registration bonus conditional on whether the club’s income had returned to pre-pandemic levels.
Messi subsequently withdrew from discussions of renewal, informing the club of his desire to leave. He ended up staying that summer, but left to join PSG the following year.
However, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner isn’t the only footballer to push his luck to the negotiating table. In fact, trying to put together weird phrases is more common than some might think.
In light of the disclosure of Messi’s requests, Sportsmail He made a list of ten of the most infamous contracts requested by footballers over the years.
Reina arrived at German side Armenia Bielefeld in 1996, but only agreed to sign on the dotted line if the club agreed to build him a new home for each year he spent with them.
He soon discovered that the devil is in the details. Rina did not specify what size or type of house he wanted, which Armenia used to their advantage as they sent him a house made of Lego every year.
Reina would end up staying at the club for three years before leaving to join Borussia Dortmund in 1999.
Giuseppe Reina wanted a new house for every year he was at Arminia Bielefeld, but ended up getting a Lego house every year
Eto’o was one of the deadliest strikers in European football in the 2000s, so it was a huge coup for Anzhi Makhachkal when they signed him in 2011. He had one small problem that he needed to solve – he didn’t want to live in Dagestan where the team is.
As a result, he told the club that he wanted a private jet to allow him to fly to Moscow and live there.
This meant he only needed to go 1,200 miles to train with his teammates, but Anzhi acceded to his request, keeping Eto’o for two years.
Samuel Eto’o had to be transferred to training in Anji Makhachkala so that he could live in Moscow
The former AC Milan midfielder decided to try his luck in Brazil in 2020 when he agreed to sign for Botafogo.
The deal was far from clear, with Honda telling the club he wanted an armored, bulletproof car and extra security guards when he was traveling in Rio de Janeiro.
His request was granted, but Honda only ended up playing 27 games for Botafogo before being released.
Keisuke Honda wanted a bulletproof car and extra safety during his time in Botafogo
Ronaldinho lit up European football during his heyday, winning the Ballon d’Or and the Champions League during his time at Barcelona.
He opted to come home to play for Flamengo in 2011, but was clearly keen to ensure he had enough time to do his things off the pitch.
He ordered the Brazilian team to include a clause in their contract that would allow them to perform twice a week. They stuck with it, and Ronaldinho continued to deliver when he played, scoring 19 goals in 44 matches for the team.
Ronaldinho demanded to give him two nights a week to celebrate while he was at Flamengo
Rolf Kristel Joy Men
The Congolese midfielder completed his move from Karlsruhe to Eintracht Frankfurt in 1999, but only agreed to the move once a certain clause was put into his contract.
Guie-Mien apparently had no hand in the kitchen, and his new club demanded to pay his wife for cooking lessons.
Eintracht acceded to his odd request, and Gui Min went on to spend the most successful period of his club career, scoring 19 goals in 95 appearances.
Rolf Kristel Gui Mein got Eintracht Frankfurt to pay for his wife’s cooking lessons
Arguably the hottest player in British football in the late 1980s, Gascoigne was not lacking in options as Manchester United and Tottenham were chasing his signature.
It was the last club that managed to convince him to join them, but they had to push the boat out to get a deal across the line.
Gascoigne, known for his “prickly” persona, told Spears that he wanted them to buy his dad a new home and a new car, while also arranging his sister with a sunbed.
The North London club decided they could not afford to miss out on signing the mercurial talent, and agreed to Gascoigne’s demands.
Paul Gascoigne persuaded Tottenham to buy a car and a house for his father, and his sister a sunbed.
Kane came through the Juventus academy, and took to the scene as a teenager.
Contract negotiations ensued, and his father, Piero, told the Italian giants that he wanted them to buy him a fleet of tractors for his Ivory Coast farm or he would ask his son to terminate his contract and leave for free.
It was reported that Juventus initially agreed to Beauro’s demands, but then negotiated a different deal with the player himself that did not include tractors.
Juventus would go on to sell Kane for £27.5m to Everton in 2019, but have since re-signed him on a two-year loan deal set to become permanent in 2024.
Moise Kean’s father wanted Juventus to pay for a fleet of tractors to sign his son
Neymar joined Barcelona at the age of 21 and has been described as the next Brazilian superstar to come to Europe to follow in the footsteps of Ronaldo and Ronaldinho.
He was clearly aware of his ability to draw at such a young age, and wanted to include a clause in his contract meaning he would fly his friends from Brazil every two months, with Barcelona footing the bill for the flights.
At the time, Barcelona were trying to battle arch-rivals Real Madrid for his signature, so it’s no surprise that they were happy to agree to Neymar’s request.
Barcelona agreed to transfer Neymar’s friends from Brazil every two months when he joined
The former Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham striker appeared set to join Lyon in 2016, with the deal nearing completion.
However, Adebayor then requested a palace overlooking Corsica, a helicopter, and a private chef. He also wanted to take the number 10 jersey of Alexandre Lacazette.
Leon was unwilling to agree to this, and this move was reversed with his joining the Turkish Basaksehir the following year.
Emmanuel Adebayor wanted a palace overlooking Corsica to join Lyon, but the club refused
Most players will try to push for one or two quirky demands to avoid the risks of delaying the club from signing them. Then you have Mauro Icardi, whose wife and agent Wanda Nara made no fewer than six requests before the striker agreed to move to Galatasaray earlier this month.
These six demands included ensuring that Icardi had a 24-hour driver, a personal chef, and a home with private security.
Nara also wanted to stay in a hotel until December and schools to attend her children while they were in Turkey.
Icardi’s move was on loan for just one season, but Galatasaray decided that wasn’t too much trouble and still went ahead with the deal.
Mauro Icardi joined Galatasaray, but only after they agreed to his wife’s six demands