Two of Barcelona’s presidential candidates, Joan Laporta and Victor Font have come out in Lionel Messi’s defence and insisted that the Argentine ‘generates more’ than he earns after details of Messi’s contract with the club was published by Spanish newspaper El Mundo. "Leo generates much more income than the money he costs," Joan Laporta, one of the club’s hopeful, said. The leaking of Messi’s colossal club contract revealed the Argentine takes home 167 million US Dollard annually as part of the deal and could have earned $674 million by the time the deal expires. Lionel Messi Contract Leak: Barcelona To Sue Spanish Newspaper El Mundo for Publishing Details of Argentine’s Current Deal.
"We have done a study and he generates a third of Barca's total income. It's not only the economic return," Laporta told Rac1 radio. "But also the emotional and sporting return, and the vivid moments he gives us." Messi signed the deal in 2017 and is in the final six months of his contract. Lionel Messi Reacts After Barcelona’s 2–1 Win Over Athletic Club in La Liga 2020-21.
Messi’s contract was published by El Mundo on Sunday under the headline "the colossal contract that ruins Barcelona". The publication claimed that Messi’s huge contract was one of the reasons behind Barcelona’s mounting debt. The last account of the club’s books showed Barcelona’s net debt has risen to $592.24 million in the last decade. According to the report, Messi has already pocketed $619 million and is set to receive another $55 million in the remaining six months of his contract.
The club have denied any responsibility in leaking the details of the contract and have also stated they are likely to take legal action against the newspaper for publishing the full details of the contract. The club, however, did not deny the contents of the leak.
"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,” the club said in a statement.
"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.”
Victor Font, who is one of the three candidates vying for the president’s chair, also condemned the leak. "To imply that Barca is ruined because of Messi is an absolutely erroneous conclusion," he told Onda Cero radio. Like Laporta, he also promised to do everything necessary to keep the six-time Ballon d’Or winner at the club.
"We have to do everything possible to keep Messi, in 2017 and today too," Font said. Laporta, who was the president of the club when Messi broke into the Barcelona first team had also spoken along similar lines. "I will do everything possible to keep Messi at Barca. I have had signals that he is happy in Barcelona, that he wants to stay."