The diminutive Argentine has big things to brag about, after putting pen to paper on a new Barcelona deal that will see him pocket a cool €100m paycheck, including bonuses and image rights. Football Leaks and other online sportsbook news say Messi reportedly signed the new contract – which has many other incentives besides the €100m annual pay – in November of last year, and it’s set to last through to the end of the 2020/21 campaign.
The biggest football contract in the world
In 2016 the Catalan outfit signed a lucrative 10-year contract extension with kit supplier Nike thought to be worth around €150m per season, while their current shirt sponsorship with Japanese online retailer Rakuten sees them receive €55m per season, plus incentives based on performances. Despite spending in excess of €222m they received from Neymar’s sale to PSG last summer on replacements like Dembele and recently Coutinho, Barcelona’s wage structure is more freed up with the former Brazilian’s departure.
This enables the club to hand Messi this staggering contract that could see him receive over €300m in the next three seasons, if all bonuses and incentive-related payments are fulfilled. The reports don’t specify whether his new contract extension comes in the form of net or gross payments (we think this is a gross amount), but either way, it’s a hell of a lot of money!
According to Der Spiegel – a source that previously published info about other Football Leaks cases – the 30-year-old Argentine will get a fixed annual salary of €71,053,846, while the remaining amount will be paid out if certain goals are achieved over the course of the contract, and Messi is pretty good at scoring goals (pun intended).
As part of the extension deal, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will also pocket a hefty one-time bonus of €63.5m, and if he stay with the club throughout the entire length of the contract he’ll earn another €70m as a loyalty bonus. On top of all that, there’s another €12,057,513 reserved as a performance bonus for Messi, if Barcelona win the Champions League.
The salaries for top football players is normally devoid of reality for the “common folk” (like you and me), but the magnitude of this contract extension is simply stupid – no person deserves to be paid that much money for simply kicking a ball for a living. Despite being a massive football talent, Messi didn’t come up with a cure to eradicate diseases, which would justify him receiving €100m per season.
But in all honestly, I would point the finger to FIFA and UEFA for not taking more action in regulating clubs’ spending on players’ transfer fees and their subsequent wages. As a comparison, sports in America (NBA, NFL, etc.) maintain salary caps, in order to not only maintain the clubs’ economic power, but also to promote competitiveness – something that is not present in football across Europe.
(IMPORTANT NOTE: Der Spiegel talks about Messi’s new contract based on leaked documents by Football Leaks, however there are no images or scans of the respective contract that indicates his astronomical earnings. All you can find is something of an employment contract with Barcelona, but no figures are mentioned, so this could all be false.)
Real Madrid tried to sign Messi back in 2013
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez – the man that started the galactico policy during his first stint as the head of the club (2000-2006) and has continued the same hunt for star players in his second stint (2009-present) – is believed to have made three separate attempts to snatch the Argentine from their arch-rivals Barcelona.
Football Leaks claim Real Madrid first made an attempt to get Messi in 2011, and the Bernabeu side used an intermediary – that’s close to club president Perez – to persuade then 24-year-old forward to switch sides and wear the white of Madrid. However, their efforts were rebuffed, but that didn’t deter them from trying again in the summer of 2013 when rumours emerged that Cristiano Ronaldo could potentially leave the Bernabeu due to his unhappiness with contract renewal talks. Perez is believed to have eyed Messi as the only worthy replacement to Ronaldo, which would have been a major coup for Real Madrid – perhaps even bigger than the transfer they pulled off in the summer of 2000, when Barcelona favourite Luis Figo made the controversial switch from Catalonia to Madrid.
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez (left) aimed to bring Messi to the Bernabeu in case Ronaldo (right) left the club in both 2011 and 2013 (source: Goal.com)
Ronaldo ended extended his contract later that year and Gareth Bale was bought for a then world-record fee, but Perez supposedly attempted yet again in 2015, per Eurosport. But his timing could not have been worse as spirits must have been high for Messi then, as Barcelona – who were favourites with online sportsbooks in Spain – clinched the treble that season, winning the Spanish league, Champions League and Copa del Rey.