Barcelona should not be surprised if a rival came in and offered them Lionel Messi's outrageous £625m release clause fee.
That is according to the club's financial and strategy director Pancho Schroder, who was quoted by Sky Sports as he explained that La Blaugrana had to be primed in case a club bid for their megastar forward.
Messi penned a new long-term deal with Barcelona in November and the increase in his release clause fee was thought to put an end to any other side ever thinking about making a move for him.
However, Schroder conceded that, given that Paris Saint-Germain elected to pay £200m for ex-Barca star Neymar last summer, nothing should be ruled out as a possibility.
He remarked: "We set up a clause which we think is enough to have Messi retire at FC Barcelona.
"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.
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"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."
Messi is much more likely to remain at Camp Nou due to his lifelong affiliation to the Catalan giants, and it would be insane for any football club to consider bidding over £600m for the Argentina captain.
Messi won't leave Barcelona.— kamal.pagaria (@kamal_pagaria) March 8, 2018
Manchester City had a passing interest in reuniting the mercurial attacker with Pep Guardiola at the Etihad stadium ahead of him signing fresh terms with Barca, but that talk has since gone quiet with the 30-year-old committing himself to the current La Liga leaders.
Messi chalked up the 600th goal of his career when Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 1-0 on home soil last Sunday - a massive result that could all but seal Ernesto Valverde's side the title at the end of this season.