Messi money: Uproar as newspaper investigation claims superstar striker’s huge contract is worth $673MN – half of Barcelona’s debt
Lionel Messi's Barcelona deal has been labeled as ruinous for the club after a newspaper published purported details showing the scale of his pay, suggesting he will earn up to €555 million (around $673 million) over four years.
After what it described as a "laborious process", El Mundo has revealed that it has collated and produced details of the "largest contract in the history of sport" containing "figures hardly imaginable" on the deal Messi allegedly agreed with the club in 2017, taking him up to the end of this season.
The stated figures and accompanying analysis shows that the club's record scorer has already earned more than $620 million as part of the performance-related incentives in the contract, which Messi tried to end at the culmination of last season following Barcelona's failure to win La Liga and the Champions League.
La Gazzeta dello Sport said the contract could cause the "definitive rupture" between the icon and the Spanish giants, adding that the forward had delivered a "tremendous economic impact" on the "scarce coffers" of the club where he has spent his entire career.
El Mundo today, what a bomb. Leo Messi’s contract with Barcelona revealed on front page 🔴👇🏻 @elmundoes- €555,237,619 contract [4 years].- €138m per season fixed + variables.- €115,225,000 as ‘renewal fee’ just for accepting the contract.- €77,929,955 loyalty bonus. pic.twitter.com/FK3I34hJta— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 31, 2021
Lionel Messi: ‘The truth is that I’m a little tired of always being the problem for everything at the club’ pic.twitter.com/ac0oIfTn4i— MC (@CrewsMat19) January 31, 2021
The money he generates is more than what he takes,why would you think that— Monmon (@monmonFCB10) January 31, 2021
Earlier this week, it was widely reported that Barcelona's debt was more than $1 billion as the club attempts to make further savings following pay deferral agreements with Messi and his fellow squad members last year.
Argentinean outlet Clarin speculated that the figures could have been filtered out of the club in an effort to hasten Messi's potential departure, and an El Mundo writer claimed that the sum eclipsed the earnings of the likes of NFL star Patrick Mahomes, boxer Canelo Alvarez and the aid amount approved by the Latvian government to battle Covid-19 for the next five years.
Barca presidential candidate Victor Font was in no doubt that Messi is worth the outlay at the club whose trophy cabinet he has swelled over the course of his remarkable career to date.
“Messi ruins Barcelona” 🤡 pic.twitter.com/NMCcooiv2B— Riqui Puig 🎩 (@MaestroRiqui) January 31, 2021
Barca fans: pic.twitter.com/88mYkqcjxt— Jack (@jackb1248) January 31, 2021
Messi arriba a l’entrenament d’activació d’avui matí. Serà el nom del dia en clau esportiva. #fcbarcelona#messi#esport3#tv3pic.twitter.com/t20gmitl5J— Francesc Latorre (@FrancescLatorre) January 31, 2021
"Leo Messi has won every last euro that Barca have paid him," Font wrote on Twitter, responding to El Mundo's assertion that the amounts involved threatened the club's future.
"He has not ruined us. On the contrary. He is the best player in history and we want him to stay with us forever."
It was business as usual for the superstar himself, meanwhile: TV3 journalist Francesc Latorre posted a video of Messi arriving at Barcelona's training facilities on Sunday morning, checking in ahead of their home match against Athletic Bilbao that evening.Also on rt.com ‘I find it inappropriate’: Would-be Barcelona chief blasts Paris again over Messi move as Pochettino claims ‘there are no saints’