By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
The contract details of thirty-three-year old Barcelona super star, Lionel Messi, have been leaked by the Madrid newspaper, ‘El Mundo’, over the weekend and have caused fury in the football world and beyond.
These contract details, one of the most highly guarded secrets of the football world, show that his five-year contract signed with Barcelona in 2017, due to end in June 2021, is worth almost half a billion pounds sterling.
The newspaper also reveals that, under his current contract, Barcelona is due to pay him a ‘loyalty bonus’ of £34.3 million on 15 July 2021, even if he leaves the club at the end of his contract.
To put Messi’s total remuneration package into some kind of perspective, it has been pointed out that it is equivalent to the aid approved by the Latvian Government against the COVID Pandemic for the next five years!
This leak comes at a time when it has also been revealed that the Barcelona finances are in turmoil with debts of over £1 billion, of which over £200 million must be repaid to banks by 30 June 2021. This is despite the fact that the club boasts the highest revenues in European football.
Of course, like so many other leading football clubs, Barcelona’s revenues have been seriously hit by the on-going economic and social effects of the Pandemic.
Interestingly, Messi’s contract includes a clause that prohibits him from criticising the management at the club.
Football is not only the world’s favourite sport but also its most lucrative one as these figures clearly demonstrate!