Barcelona financial director Pancho Schroder believes a rival club might be willing to meet Lionel Messi's £625 million release clause.
Speaking to Sky Sports News at a Finance in Sport event in London, Schroder suggested Neymar's shock move to Paris Saint-Germain for £200 million meant high release clauses no longer guarantee players won't leave.
"We set up a clause which we think is enough to have Messi retire at FC Barcelona," he said. "But having said that, we thought a year ago that the clause for Neymar was also good enough to retain the player, and that proved last summer not to be the case."
PSG have come under scrutiny from UEFA following their shock move for Neymar in the summer and are still under investigation for potentially breaking financial fair play (FFP) rules, per Jonathan Johnson for ESPN FC.
But the numbers involved in Neymar's transfer sent shock waves through Europe, leaving the likes of Schroder unsure whether even Messi's release clause—more than three times higher than the Brazil international's—means he is unavailable to suitors.
"Looking at the future, I think, is difficult, but I don't have a crystal ball and these days things are getting a little bit crazy," he added.
Messi has been in superb form again this season, with 24 goals in 27 La Liga matches and a further four goals in the Champions League. And having signed a new deal in November to keep him at Barcelona until 2021, the Argentina international appears to be keen on finishing his career at the Catalan club.
"It's what I always wanted and dreamed. I would love to finish my career at Barcelona," Messi told Tencent Sports (h/t Dejan Kalinic for Goal) in June, before he eventually put pen to paper.
The Barcelona star appears unlikely to leave the club any time soon, with Schroder's comments reflecting the unpredictability of football rather than a fear Messi would walk away.