Lionel Messi’s contract with FC Barcelona is leaky and large
In the course of Lionel Messi’s illustrious career, it has always been a given that the Barcelona star was well compensated for his talents.
There has never been a better time to be probably the greatest player in history at one of the richest clubs in the world. One could assume that Messi was paid along the lines of the world’s best athletes like Patrick Mahomes, LeBron James and Mike Trout.
Thanks to a leak from the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, we now know that it would be wrong to assume so. Very wrong.
In reality, Messi’s reported income brings every known athlete salary out of the water, even the half-billion-dollar contract that Mahomes won last year, and it has been widely reported to be a record in the sports industry.
Lionel Messi’s contract is a world shaker
Here are the numbers from the contract Messi signed in 2017 through Italian reporter Fabrizio Romano: € 555,237,619 over four years with an annual salary of € 138 million including variables, a ‘renewal fee’ of € 115 million and a loyalty of € 77 million bonus.
After five months, Messi has already earned 511 million euros.
El Mundo today, what a bomb. Leo Messi’s contract with Barcelona was featured on the front page @elmundoes
– Contract for € 555,237,619 [4 years].
– € 138 million per season fixed + variables.
– € 115,225,000 as a “renewal fee” only for accepting the contract.
– € 77,929,955 loyalty bonus. pic.twitter.com/FK3I34hJta
– Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 31, 2021
Those numbers add up to $ 674 million for the entire contract, $ 167 million per year, $ 139 million renewal fee, and a loyalty bonus of $ 94.6 million in 2020.
Compare that to Mahomes’ 10 year $ 503 million deal (actually a $ 450 million deal due to creative accounting) or Mike Trout’s 12 year $ 420 million deal, and you will see that the highest ranges of European football blow away American sports salaries. Messi’s contract is higher than the highest reach of the largest registered contract only over the course of four years. The total cash over the course of the contract is around $ 320.55 per minute.
In fact, Messi’s annual income of $ 167 million is higher than Trout, LeBron James, Tom Brady, and Connor McDavid’s combined salaries this year, according to Spotrac’s annual cash figures.
In just his income from Barcelona, it seems likely that Messi is already a billionaire. What’s even more incredible is that a few months ago, Messi actually tried to get out of that contract by looking for a club to pay a $ 828 million release clause.
Barcelona’s finances are in poor shape
Why are we only now finding out about Messi’s salary?
Well it could have something to do with where Barcelona are financially right now and that Messi seems intent on leaving the club in a few months.
Barcelona’s decline on the world stage coincided with a staggering accumulation of debt that resulted from the acquisition of players and the financial crisis of COVID-19 in the sports world. According to ESPN, Barcelona’s total debt is currently € 1.173 billion, with a net debt of € 488 million, with player spending reportedly accounting for 74 percent of that.
This isn’t all that different from what many other football giants are going through right now (Real Madrid’s debt is reportedly € 901million), but it’s still amazing. So it makes sense why Messi’s salary appeared out of nowhere and Barcelona are on the verge of a painful period of austerity.
Messi’s brilliance has generated millions, maybe billions, for Barcelona over the years. Barcelona signed him for a reason. For a decade it has been one of the most valuable sports products in the world. Now the club is best served by reminding its fans what it costs.
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