Lionel Messi is planning legal action against newspaper El Mundo after they leaked details of his Barcelona contract, according to a report.
The timing is particularly controversial. It comes at the end of a week when talk has centred on Barca’s precarious financial position.
The finger of blame for the money worries is being put on the previous board in large part. That was led by Josep Maria Bartomeu.
The current Barcelona hierarchy are denying an involvement in the leak. In fact they too are considering legal action.
Journalist Samuel Marsden reveals this on Twitter and quotes a club statement.
It reads: “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 expresses its absolute support for 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.”
Football Espana say Messi’s entire contract, including variables, amounts to a grand total of €555,237,619.
The report states that 92% of the variables stipulated have already been fulfilled. That means the total salary Messi has earned is €511,540,545.
It adds that the fixed salary was €245,314,080.
The variables include a €14,194,576 bonus for winning the Champions League and a bonus of between €9,463,064 and €4,731,532 for winning the league
There’s also a bonus of between €2,365,768 and €591,552 for winning the Ballon d’Or.
Other details listed are that Messi earned a renewal premium of €97,941,250 and a loyalty premium of €66,240,462. There is also a fixed image contract of €43,290,720.
Messi believed to be furious and could announce exit
With Messi reportedly angry at the leak, what happens next?
Given the previous speculation over his future, the timing is far from ideal.
Indeed, Caught Offside are suggesting that Messi will now announce his future plans in the next few days. Previously he’d said he wouldn’t make a decision until the end of the season.
That will clearly interest both Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.
Both clubs have been heavily linked with the Argentine icon.