It’s a universally accepted fact that Lionel Messi is one of the most sought-after athletes of our times. This Sunday, the value of the Argentine footballer was confirmed, when his current contract with FC Barcelona, which is worth more than 500 million euros, got leaked by the Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

The leak comes at a time when the club is wrestling with a dire financial situation, worsened by the pandemic, and with Messi’s future still up in the air, given the striker can leave the club for free this summer.

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The newspaper, El Mundo, exclusively published the terms of Messi’s contract, signed on November 25, 2017. The document stipulates a payment of 555,237,619 gross euros (about 674 thousand dollars or 13,790 million Mexican pesos), which was supposed to be paid in four seasons, between 2017/2018 and until June 30, 2021, making it “the largest contract in the history of sport,” according to the newspaper. The publication has called it the “colossal contract that ruins Barcelona”.

The newspaper clarified that the amount is “the sum of a fixed salary, image rights, a series of unpublished multimillion-dollar bonuses to date, allowances, and a string of variables depending on various objectives.”

The publication indicates that the payment of taxes and Social Security represents about 297 million euros (360 million dollars). That is, more than half of this amount corresponds to the treasury.

In a recent development, Barcelona has threatened to sue the Spanish newspaper for leaking the details.

“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 its publication given that it is a private document governed by the principle of confidentiality between the parties,” said Barcelona in a press release. “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.”

Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract with Juventus is worth a reported 30 million euros a year, but bonuses may have taken it up to 70 million euros last season. Ronaldo also earns more from endorsements than Messi.

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are the favorites to sign Messi if he chooses to leave.

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