Barcelona icon Lionel Messi has reportedly instructed his lawyers to prepare a lawsuit against El Mundo, after the Spanish newspaper leaked the financial details of his contract with the club, which has a confidentiality clause, in its front page story, according to RAC1.
‼️ NOTÍCIA @EsportsRAC1— El Barça juga a RAC1 (@FCBRAC1) January 31, 2021
Messi emprendrà accions legals contra el diari EL MUNDO. El seu advocat prepara una querella contra el diari i s’està estudiant com involucrar les persones del club amb accés al seu contracte. Més informació al #PrimerToc
The bombshell leak on Sunday alleged that the forward has a contract with FC Barcelona that amounts to 555,237,619 gross, to be paid in four seasons until its expiration on 30 June 2021.
Furthermore, Messi's lawyer is also believed to be looking into how to involve the limited group of people in the club who had access to his contract.
El Mundo today, what a bomb. Leo Messi’s contract with Barcelona revealed on front page 🔴👇🏻 @elmundoes— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 31, 2021
- €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
Only a maximum of five people could have accessed the document, says the outlet.
In a statement released via their official website on Sunday, Barcelona categorically denied having any responsibility for the leak, while revealing that they will also resort to legal action against El Mundo.
Comunicat sobre Leo Messi— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona_cat) January 31, 2021
Consulta tots els detalls 👇https://t.co/0Jv9JYeHZ8
“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 that it has transpired publicly, as it is an exclusively private document governed by the principle of confidentiality between the parties,” reads the statement.
Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported earlier that the total value of the contract penned by the winner of a record six Ballon d'Or awards with Barcelona is close to €555,237,619 - or £492 million.
The paper, which claimed it obtained a copy of the 30-page confidential paperwork, proceeded to break down the sum into a fixed salary, image rights, variables, as well as the tax that Barcelona has had to fork out.
Trumping NFL star Patrick Mahomes' reported £402m deal with the Kansas City Chiefs, Messi's contract, with the inclusion of all bonuses, is suggested to be worth up to £123 mln annually.
According to El Mundo, one such aforementioned bonus was a £102 mln 'renewal fee' for signing up to the contract in November 2017.
An extra £69 mln in annual 'loyalty bonuses' were ostensibly paid to the footballer, who captains both the Spanish club and the Argentina national team, for staying with Barca.
Last summer Lionel Messi, who made his debut with Barcelona's first team in 2004 and has been playing for the club ever since, created a furore after news broke that he was attempting to trigger a clause in his contract allowing him to leave for free.
However, after originally threatening legal action, in a subsequent dramatic U-turn he agreed to see out the final year.
Now that the 33-year old player is expected to leave, speculation has been rife regarding his future plans, with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City among the clubs hoping to land the prolific goalscorer.
Spanish outlet Don Balon reported Lionel Messi could officially announce his intention to leave Camp Nou in the coming days.