Barcelona: Bartomeu denies leaking Messi's contract

Former Barça chief Josep Maria Bartomeu says he had nothing to do with the leaking of Lionel Messi's contract, describing it as "a very serious issue".

Bartomeu denies leaking Messi's Barca contract details

Ex-Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu says he is not responsible for leaking Lionel Messi's Blaugrana contract and says the Argentina captain deserves his huge salary.

Spanish newspaper El Mundo on Sunday reported that the deal Barça captain Messi signed in 2017 could earn him in excess of 555 million euros.

The leak of the mercurial forward's earnings came as it was revealed Barça's debts have reportedly risen above 1.1 billion euros, with the coronavirus pandemic having such a huge impact. 

"It's a very serious issue and it's totally illegal": ex-Barcelona president says leak fall-out "will end up in court"

With much talk of who might have been behind the leaking of such confidential information, Bartomeu says he had nothing to do with it.

He told Esport3: "It's a very serious issue and it's totally illegal to leak professional contracts. Speaking on TV and making accusations is easy, but it's not a joke and this will end up in court."

Bartomeu added: "By the way, Leo deserves what he earns. Both for professional and commercial reasons. Without the pandemic, Barcelona could easily pay those figures."

LaLiga chief: Barcelona financial woes not Messi's fault

LaLiga president Javier Tebas also said it is unfair to put Barça's financial situation down to Messi's staggering contract, which expires at the end of this season.

He wrote on Twitter: "The delicate financial situation of FC Barcelona (similar in other big clubs) is not Messi's fault but rather the devastating effects of COVID.

"Without a pandemic, the revenue generated by the best player in history offset that cost. Some media are not treating this issue fairly."