Messi's €555m Barca contract sports biggest deal

Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona before the spanish cup, Copa del Rey, football match played Rayo Vallecano and FC Barcelona at Estadio de Vallecas on January 27, 2021 in Madrid, Spain.

Lionel Messi’s current deal will end up costing Barcelona €555million (£492m) when it concludes this summer, a significant leak of his contract has revealed, reports Daily Mail.

The four-year deal was signed in 2017 and will end this June when the 33-year-old will be able to leave for nothing.

Spain’s El Mundo, who published the details of the contract under a headline which says it will 'ruin Barcelona', say the combination of fixed salary, image rights, variables and the tax that Barcelona have had to pay on the contract will rise to €555,237,619.

Messi has been guaranteed €138m (£122m) a season in gross salary according to the leaked contract.

He earned a 'renewal fee' of €115m (£102m) for accepting the contract and is said to take home €79m (£69m) each year in a 'loyalty' bonus for staying at the Nou Camp.

The report from El Mundo goes on to claim that Messi still has five months left on his current deal and has already earned an eye-watering £452m (€511m) so far.

The Spanish newspaper put both his normal contract and image rights under the microscope before breaking down where certain variables were met since the 2017-18 campaign.

As a part of his current deal, Messi earned an extra £616,172 (€695,748) for winning FIFA's Best Player award during the 2018-19 campaign.

The Argentine is also guaranteed a whopping £3.1m (€3.5m) if Barcelona win the Champions League – something the club hasn't achieved since 2015.

Other variables include Messi banking another £1.75m (€1.9m) if he plays 60 per cent of games while he will receive extra payments each knockout stage of the Champions League he reached, as well as winning LaLiga and the Copa del Rey.

Barcelona's and Messi's disastrous campaign last season also saw the club dodge having to pay many of the variables in his contract, while the talismanic forward also agreed to 70 per cent pay cut to his salary due to the coronavirus pandemic – as did the rest of the Barcelona squad.

Out of the 10 variables listed, only one of them was met which came after the Catalan club reached the last 16 of the Champions League and saw Messi bank £985,966 (€1.1m) for doing so.

In total, the jaw-dropping £492m total makes Messi's contract the biggest in sports history, beating the likes of Patrick Mahomes' £402m 10-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs and Canelo Alvarez's £292m five-fight deal with DAZN.

The full details of Messi's contract, with sensitive details retracted, featured on the front page in Spain today.

The leak has infuriated Messi's camp who are now looking to prepare a lawsuit against El Mundo as a result, according to RAC1.

The leak will also further destabilize Barcelona as the club stumbles towards elections originally planned for last week but now postponed until March 7 because of the coronavirus.

It comes days after the club published their financial report for 2019-20 which revealed a gross debt of €1.2billion (£1bn).

That debt includes a short-term debt of €720m (£638m), €266m (£236m) of which is owed to various banks and financial institutions and needs to be paid before June 30.

One creditor is Goldman Sachs, an important long-term financial partner in the club’s planned €800m redevelopment of the Nou Camp.

Catalan newspaper El Periodico reported last week that the club was trying to secure a further loan of €100m (£89m) tied to the future sale of players.

Barcelona need to refinance their debts to avoid having to change the structure of the club, allowing private investors to inject money in return for a degree of control.

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