It is an absurd value, truly impressive even by the standards of the millionaire football of the great European giants. The contract currently in force between Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona reaches, amazingly, the 555,237,619 gross euros for four seasons. The details of the bond, absolutely princely, are advanced this Sunday by the Spanish newspaper The world.
Let’s take the math, simple arithmetic: we’re talking about almost 139 million euros per season, 11.6 million euros per month, of approximately 386 thousand euros per day, 16 thousand euros per hour. This astronomical cake includes salaries, image rights, prizes for objectives and a series of other variables. If we apply the respective taxes and deductions to this income, we obtain a final net amount of approximately 297 million euros.
The contract was signed in November 2017 and covers four seasons, precisely from 2017-18 until June 30, 2021. It was the outcome of a long negotiation process, of an arm in which the Argentine tried to postpone as much as possible. decision, because he was considering leaving the club at a time of internal uncertainty and convulsions in Catalonia, due to the referendum.
The burden on Barcelona’s finances has become even heavier due to the drastic reduction in revenues caused by the covid-19 pandemic. The club has already been making an effort to cut expenses, calling on the highest paid players to temporarily cut wages, but the truth is that the latest report and accounts are dramatic – short-term debt, for example, has risen 225 million euros in one season.
Decomposing the “lottery”
In a contract of this size, all values are impressive. And if there is anything that these numbers attest, it is also the bargaining power of a unique class player, who over the years has been gaining an extraordinary weight inside the dressing room and, in a way, has left Barcelona dependent on his art. Or, at least, it was able to convince the leaders blaugrana.
Only the premium for signing the current link is clear: 97.9 million euros, receivable in three installments. A value that, in itself, rivals some of the biggest transfers ever in world football. But there is more. For playing only 60% of the games (and we say only because Lionel Messi is an unconditional starter, that only an injury will remove the choices), the Argentine striker receives an extra 1.65 million euros, repeating the dose with the mere qualification of the club for the Champions League.
We are therefore talking about increases in pay almost automatically guaranteed. Another example? Barcelona’s qualification to the Champions League Round of 16, something that has obviously been a rule, translates into another 946 thousand euros in Lionel Messi’s pockets, and the passage to the quarter-finals represents an extra 1 , 4 million. No case (then, more unlikely) to win the race, 3.5 million euros are expected. And this is an absolute novelty in the bonds that it has established over the years with the Catalans.
This permanent “lottery” continues with a wealth of other collective and individual objectives, from winning the championship (2.4 million euros) to the victory of the King’s Cup (591 thousand euros), passing through the distinctions of FIFA and UEFA. All of this contributes to the much more comprehensive concept of “retribution” in the contract, since the actual salary, gambling prizes, compensation for private trips and seniority bonuses total 61.3 million fixed per season. The rest follows from the aforementioned examples and parallel image rights contracts.
The price to pay for loyalty
The way in which disenchantment in the relationship has taken hold over the years has gained particular notoriety at the start of the current sporting season, when Messi took on the desire to leave Catalonia and began speculation about a possible transfer to Paris Saint-Germain. A position of strength that emerged months after the expiration of a completely unusual clause in the contract, that of loyalty to Barcelona.
At the time of signing, the club management, then led by Josep Maria Bartomeu, wanted to make sure that he was able to keep the player on the boards for as long as possible and the agreement they reached for the end of the term was February 1, 2020. This “loyalty” was paid in gold: 66.2 million euros.
This is also an evident sign of the transfer of the management of Barcelona in the framework of the negotiations, since the player could leave the club, without any penalty, more than a year before the end of the contract. At the limit, it reveals the The world, Lionel Messi could continue to receive even without representing Barça. A reasoning that, moreover, also applies in the case of a suspension applied by FIFA that prevented him from competing – even so, in this scenario, he kept his salary in full.
The exception treatment also extends to contracts with sponsors, since Barcelona is committed to respecting all Argentine bonds, even with sponsors competing in the market of the official club sponsors. And in the scenario of an independent Catalonia, the player has the right to leave without the right to pay any compensation to the “blaugrana”.
FC Barcelona’s reaction
However, FC Barcelona has already reacted to the publication of the Spanish daily and promises to take action. “Regarding the information published in the newspaper The world, on the professional contract signed between FC Barcelona and player Lionel Messi, the club regrets its publication as it is a private document and covered by the principle of confidentiality between the parties ”, can be read in a statement issued this morning .
The club’s management promises to “take appropriate legal action against the The world for any damage caused ”and expresses full support to Lionel Messi, in the face of any attempt to discredit the player and damage the relationship with the club.
The newspaper Brand it also reflects Lionel Messi’s dissatisfaction with the news content and adds that the Argentine’s team of lawyers is considering proceeding with a lawsuit and also prosecuting the five people who were involved in the signing and who were aware of this contract.