Messi earns his wages, but not the captain’s armband

If the intention of the person (or persons) who gave Spanish newspaper El Mundo access to Messi’s contract was to point the finger at the player as the cause of Barcelona’s financial ruin, they haven’t managed it. The main reaction from those who back the club was summed up with journalistic incisiveness on the front page of Argentinean paper Olé, which instead of the €555,237,619 of the contract put the figures 650,260,755. Goals, assists and games, that is. A fine response. It is true that those aren’t his numbers for the four years of the contract in question, which he’s still to complete, but rather of his entire career at Barça, but no matter: they prove just how special he is.

Messi's earnings are breath-taking

The total amount of the contract as a huge banner headline is breath-taking, true. Not the 50 million net a year we had all thought, but more than 70. And it could be said that the four years the contract covers are not proving to be the best of Messi’s career. But it’s still money far better spent than the cash Barcelona have chucked at bringing in Coutinho, Dembélé and Griezmann - about the same amount in total. And, seen from the point of view of Real Madrid, it’s obvious it would have been far better for Florentino to improve Cristiano Ronaldo’s deal (which was never even close to these figures) than to blow 300 million euros on Hazard, Jovic, Militia, Mendy and Rodrigo, with the resulting salaries and the performances everyone has seen.

Of course Messi is so well paid

I heard a criticism of the Messi situation on the radio, saying he’s the highest paid athlete on the planet (twice as much as the fourth). Well of course he is. He’s the best player in the world’s most popular sport. Apart from his goals, eight of every nine shirts Barça sells has his name on them, he boosts the club’s advertising revenue, he brings tourists to the city. He pushed the club to the limit for his contract and Bartomeu folded, but Barcelona’s financial woes are due to those other dire operations and the effect of the covid pandemic. If there’s any criticism to be levelled at Messi, it’s for his attitude since Puyol, Xavi and Iniesta left. He’s the captain now, and it’s his duty - because he’s the captain more than because of his pay packet - to turn up with a positive attitude and to set an example for the rest of the team. There should be no place for the spoiled teenage tantrums we see from him and his toxic inner circle.