Barcelona will take legal action against Spanish newspaper El Mundo for publishing details of Lionel Messi’s contract with the club. The Spanish news outlet published full details of Messi’s current contract with Barcelona, which was signed in 2017 and is set to expire at the end of June 2021. The report states Messi’s current contract includes fixed incomes and bonus payments and the Argentine takes home 167m USD in annual earnings every season. The newspaper reported Messi’s lucrative contract, of $674 million in five years, contributed to Barcelona’s recent financial troubles. Lionel Messi’s Recent Contract with Barcelona is Worth Up to 555 Million Euros Over Four Seasons, Biggest in History of Sports, Says Report.
Barcelona’s net debt has risen to $592.24 million in recent times while the club’s interim president Carles Tusquets also recently revealed they were forced to delay payments to players due to financial issues at the club. The report from El Mundo stated Messi has already pocketed 619m USD and is set to receive another $55 million as per the contract. The newspaper also claimed Messi, as per the contract, is the best-paid athlete in sporting history.
El Mundo Publishes Full Details of Lionel Messi's Contract
— EL MUNDO (@elmundoes) January 30, 2021
The La Liga club denied any responsibility in the leaking of the documents of Messi’s contract in a statement. The club said the contract was a "private document governed by the principle of confidentiality between the parties" and they regretted its release.
"In view of the information published today in the newspaper El Mundo, in relation to the professional contract signed between FC Barcelona and the player Lionel Messi, the club regrets its publication given that it is a private document governed by the principle of confidentiality between the parties," a statement on Barca's official website said.
"FC Barcelona categorically denies any responsibility for the publication of this document, and will take appropriate legal action against the newspaper El Mundo, for any damage that may be caused as a result of this publication.
"FC Barcelona expresses its absolute support for Lionel Messi, especially in the face of any attempt to discredit his image, and to damage his relationship with the entity where he has worked to become the best player in the world and in football history,” it added.
Messi, who joined Barcelona at the age of 13 in 2000 and is the club’s record all-time goalscorer, had attempted to force his way out of the club before backing out and staying at the club for this season. He is expected to leave the club in the summer and is in the final six months of his contract, which allows the Argentine to sign a pre-contract with any other club. But Messi has refused to be drawn into making a decision before the current season concludes.