• Monday, July 15, 2024
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BusinessDay

Inside Lionel Messi’s £500m Barcelona bumper deal

Lionel Messi

By the time Lionel Messi’s contract ends in June, 2021, the Argentine great will have earned over £500million from the contract he signed with Barcelona four seasons ago, making the deal the biggest in sports history, according to El Mundo.

Messi, 33, is coming towards the end of his latest four-year deal at the Nou Camp.

And Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported the total value is €555,237,619 – or £492m – after claiming to have obtained a copy of the 30-page confidential paperwork.

That is made up of a fixed salary, image rights, variables as well as the tax that Barcelona have had to pay and trumps NFL star Patrick Mahomes’ £402m deal with Kansas City Chiefs.

Messi’s bumper contract, therefore, is worth on average up to £123m per year with all the bonuses included.

One of those bonuses was a £102m ‘renewal fee’ simply for signing on the dotted line in November 2017.

He then pockets an extra £69m each year as a ‘loyalty bonus’ for staying at the club.

Messi tried to quit Barca last summer by attempting to trigger a clause in his contract allowing him to leave for free.

But after threatening legal action, he made a dramatic U-turn to see out the final year.

He is, though, expected to leave after 20 years this summer with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City among the mega-rich clubs hoping to land the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Speaking in December, he admitted he still ‘doesn’t know’ what he will do at the end of the season.

Messi, who is free to talk to other clubs now, said: “I know there are a lot of people at Barca who still love me, but I’m going to do what is best for the club and for myself.

“Besides, I want to live in Barcelona and be involved in the club in some way when I retire.

“I don’t know if I’m going to leave, but if I do, I would like to leave in the best way possible and be able to return to the club in the future.

“Barcelona are much bigger than any player. I hope that every time the club have to, they will do good things to lift important titles.”

The leaked information regarding Messi’s contract comes just days after Barcelona’s financial report revealed debts of £1billion.

That includes a short-term debt of £638m, £236m of which needs to be paid back to various banks and financial institutions before June 30.

There have been a lot of accusations about Messi’s wages and how his ‘138 million euros’ wage bill is the primary reason for Barca’s heavy financial debt.

Barcelona deny leaking Messi’s contract

Barcelona say they will take legal action against Spanish newspaper El Mundo after it published details of forward Lionel Messi’s contract.

Barcelona denied “any responsibility for the publication of this document”.

Argentina international Messi, 33, joined Barcelona at 13 but handed in a transfer request in August.

His contract runs out in the summer and there is uncertainty if he will remain with the club.

Barcelona said in a statement that they “regret” its publication, adding: “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 is unclear where Messi might move to, but his salary means very few clubs could afford him, especially with the drop in revenue caused by the pandemic.

Only those clubs with wealthy backers whose fortunes have been less affected by the impact of COVID-19 will be his possible options.

Messi has won a record six Ballon d’Or awards during his time at Barcelona, while helping the club win 10 Spanish league titles and four Champions League crowns.

The club has been led by a caretaker board since president Josep Bartomeu resigned in October.