BARCELONA

Barcelona responds after Messi contract leak

Barcelona has said it "regrets" the publication of Messi's contract details and "categorically denies" any responsibility, while threatening to take legal action against El Mundo.

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Barcelona responds after Messi contract leak
SERGIO PEREZ REUTERS

It has taken Barcelona almost twelve hours to respond after Spanish daily El Mundo’s shocking revelation regarding Lionel Messi’s contract and his €138 million-a-year salary.

In a special report published on Sunday, El Mundo revealed details about Messi’s most recent contract signed in 2017, which was worth a staggering €555,237,619. Including bonuses Messi was set to earn up to €138 million per season under the contract, according to the paper.

In a statement published on its website, the club said “it regrets” the publication of “a private document governed by the principle of confidentiality between the parties”, and “categorically denies” responsibility for its publication.

Barcelona to take legal action

The club stated it will proceed to take legal action against El Mundo for “any damage that may be caused as a result of this publication."

“FC Barcelona expresses its absolute support for Lionel Messi, especially in the face of any attempt to discredit his image, and to damage his relationship with the entity where he has worked to become the best player in the world and in football history,” the statement concluded.

Messi could also take legal action

Meanwhile, Catalan radio channel RAC1 has reported that Messi himself has put the matter in the hands of his lawyers, who are now looking at the possibility of taking legal action against the newspaper and those responsible for the document leak.

Font defends Barcelona and Messi

Barcelona presidential candidate Victor Font quickly responded to the story after it broke not long after midnight on Saturday night (early Sunday morning), taking to social media to defend the club and the player.

Lionel Messi signs a contract extension with former Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu back in 2017.

"Messi has earned every euro that Barça has paid him. He hasn’t ruined us. On the contrary, he is the best player in history and we want him to stay with us forever,” tweeted Font.

Font is one of the three candidates for the Barcelona presidency, all of whom will, if elected, hope to convince Messi to stay after his current deals expires in June.

In full: Barcelona statement on Messi leak

“In view of the information published today in the newspaper El Mundo, in relation to the professional contract signed between FC Barcelona and the player Lionel Messi, the club regrets its publication given that it is a private document governed by the principle of confidentiality between the parties.

“FC Barcelona categorically denies any responsibility for the publication of this document, and will take appropriate legal action against the newspaper El Mundo, for any damage that may be caused as a result of this publication.

“FC Barcelona expresses its absolute support for Lionel Messi, especially in the face of any attempt to discredit his image, and to damage his relationship with the entity where he has worked to become the best player in the world and in football history.”