Football

Barcelona to sue newspaper over report on Lionel Messi's contract

Barcelona said yesterday they will take legal action against Spanish newspaper El Mundo for publishing Lionel Messi's contract information.

El Mundo published full details of the deal Messi penned with Barca in 2017, adding that it is worth up to 555 million euros (S$894.5m) over four years.

The report said the contract, which was previously described by French newspaper L'Equipe as the most lucrative in football, had contributed to the club's recent financial troubles, which have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

With six months of the deal left, "the player has already earned 511,290,052 euros, almost 92 per cent of the possible total", the report claims.

Barca's last accounts showed their net debt had doubled to 488m euros, while the club's interim president Carles Tusquets said recently they had been forced to delay payments to players.

In a statement, Barca denied any responsibility for the publication of the contract, adding they regretted its release as it was a "private document governed by the principle of confidentiality between the parties".

Messi, the club's all-time top scorer with 650 goals, is also their captain and most decorated player with 10 La Liga titles, four Champions Leagues and six Copa del Rey triumphs.

According to the report, Messi earned 115m euros just for signing the contract in 2017. The 33-year-old's club contract dwarfs those of the other top earners in global sport.

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

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