Barcelona is a club full of stars. Like most clubs that see their brand taken around the world, Barcelona is a household name. Yet, there is more to a club than mere performance on the pitch.
With the reports of Cristiano Ronaldo being sad at Real Madrid a few months ago, we should all be reminded of the importance of a player's happiness at their club (via Fox Sports). Money and playing time figure into a lot of the feelings of high-profile stars.
Normally, a player's feeling of worth comes down to his contract.
That being said, there are a few big names at Barcelona that have been in talks with the club over contract issues. I believe it is time we take a look at what is happening off the pitch for some of Barcelona's biggest stars.
Hearing that Xavi wants to retire at Barcelona is, quite simply, not a shock to anyone. The Catalan midfielder grew up at La Masia and is a figurehead at the club.
The 32-year-old is even considered a legend, though he is still playing. Most fans wonder what the club will do when the midfield genius retires, but it looks as if that question will have to wait to be answered.
Marca has reported that both Xavi and Barcelona are doing everything possible for Xavi to remain in Catalonia until retirement.
This may not come as a shock, but there is no secret that clubs continue to reach out to Xavi's agent. Marca also reported that Russian club Anzhi made a bid to the midfield general. However, the report claimed that Xavi quickly rejected the big-money contract, showing his desire to remain in Barcelona.
Though Xavi has obviously made his desire to remain known, so has the club. The official Barcelona website carried reports of Barcelona president Sandro Rosell claiming that it is the club's desire for both Xavi and captain Carles Puyol to retire at Barcelona.
Xavi's current contract is set to expire in 2014, with an option on an additional two years (via Marca).
Carles Puyol has had a tumultuous last few seasons. Though, no matter how many injuries he sustains, he continues to play his heart out.
The Barcelona captain is arguably the best defender to ever play for Barcelona.
Even though Puyol is getting closer to retirement, it is evident that he is nowhere near ready to retire himself.
This summer, Goal reported on the desire of the club to keep Puyol at Barcelona for several more years. Some see this as understood knowledge, while others may be a bit skeptical of his ability to play for that long.
No doubt Puyol is a staple for La Blaugrana, but his age (34) and injuries are catching up with him. Soon, the captain will have to accept a lesser role on the pitch for Barcelona.
His impact will continue to be felt, but his days are a regular starter are all but over.
This will not keep Barcelona from retaining Puyol until he chooses to retire. Marca recently reported that because of Puyol's commitment to Barcelona, neither side is in a hurry to finalize a deal.
The captain's current contract is set to expire this summer (via Goal). It is clear that Puyol will either re-sign before the summer or hang up his boots for good.
Cristian Tello is one of the hottest prospects in the world. Growing up at La Masia, the young winger has begun to make a name for himself.
Coach Tito Vilanova seems quite fond of the youngster, evidenced by the amount of playing time he has seen despite still being a B team player. Barcelona will certainly want to keep the winger around as he continues to develop.
But, there may be some issues that prevent the U-21 international from signing a new contract.
Marca recently made known that the sides have hit a snag in contract negotiations. Although all parts of the contract have been settled, there remains one issue. There is dispute on a buy-out clause as Tello's representatives believe Barcelona are setting the amount too high.
Barcelona are notorious for slapping large buy-out clauses on their players, and it seems the same is happening with Tello.
The new contract would undoubtedly see the player promoted, but Tello is actually being smart here. With names such as Neymar being rumored to Barcelona, a smaller release clause would enable Tello to leave if his playing time becomes hindered.
Could this be the player's way of saying he wants a way out if needed?
Tello's contract is set to expire in June (via Marca). If the two sides cannot reach an agreement, expect the winger to be sold as early as January. There are certainly clubs interested in the young winger despite his desire to remain at the Catalan club (via Metro).
No contract is more important than that of Lionel Messi. The Argentine is the face of Barcelona and a lock to end his days at the Catalan club.
This past summer, Messi announced his plan to retire at the club (via Fox Sports). This comes as no surprise, but it is wise to keep in mind that Messi is only 25 years old.
The current world player of the year wants to retire at Barcelona, certainly due to many reasons. One such reason must be the treatment the club has given him.
Barcelona has taken good care of Messi since he joined La Masia, and the club will look to continue this in new contracts.
Because of the commitment of both sides, Messi recently stated to Marca: "My contract isn't a worry." It is evident that both sides are seeing eye to eye and that Messi does not even regard a contract renewal as an issue.
Yet, with his current deal set to expire in 2016, it shows how dedicated the club is to their superstar to already be in talks. President Sandro Rosell has recently spoken on the necessity to improve Messi's contract based on the continued improvement of the player (via Goal).
It has always been clear that Messi is a one-club team. But, with plenty of time to work, do not expect the renewal to happen anytime soon.
Not all contracts involve players.
Reports have now made it known that Barcelona will now support the Qatar Airways as their new shirt sponsor (via Marca). The deal is reportedly worth €170 million over six years.
Barcelona has made a huge shift from its stance of only a few years ago. The Catalan club used to have their shirts sponsor-free until 2006. UNICEF was then allowed to sponsor Barcelona, though without profit.
In 2010, the Qatar Foundation began to sponsor the club and has now become a paying sponsorship. The new deal will certainly bring in money that can help Barcelona balance the financial books.
Football clubs are all about marketing, and Barcelona is arguably the most marketable team in the world.
Now to you, the readers. Are you happy to see the contracts being dealt with along with revenue from a sponsorship? How will the contract of Cristian Tello pan out? Don't forget to comment.