Barcelona have threatened to take legal action against a Spanish newspaper over details of the club’s contract negotiations with Lionel Messi.
On Wednesday, El Mundo claimed Messi made a number of requests before he would renew his deal at the Nou Camp in the summer of 2020.
The publication said Messi’s stipulations to stay at cash-strapped Barcelona included a massive signing-on bonus of £8.7million and a private jet to fly his family back to Argentina at Christmas.
He also requested a luxury executive box at the Nou Camp for his family and the family of former Barca team-mate Luis Suarez, with the security of a three-year deal until 2023 plus an option to extend.
Other demands made in June 2020 included lowering his buyout clause from £610m to a nominal fee of just £8,700 – almost negligible given the money in today’s market.
And after accepting a 20 percent pay cut in 2020-21 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he asked for his net salary of £65m a year to be increased to £71.5m a year for the next two seasons, plus three per cent in annual interest.
The information was recovered from emails between Jorge Messi, Lionel’s father and representative, the 35-year-old’s legal team, and Barcelona chiefs including then-president Josep Bartomeu.
El Mundo report Barcelona accepted all of Messi’s demands except two: refusing to lower his release clause to £8,700 and making the £8.7m signing-on bonus conditional on the club returning to their pre-pandemic income, which was and is unlikely given their well-publicised financial issues.
Due to this, the 162-cap international quit negotiations, and informed them of his desire to leave.
Now, Barcelona said the leaked information was part of a judicial procedure.
‘In relation to the information published in El Mundo under the title ‘Barca Leaks, the club’s secret files’, Barcelona express indignation at the intentional leaking of information that is part of a legal process,’ the Catalan club said in a statement.
‘The club regrets that the media in question boasts of having ‘access to a huge number of documents and emails that are part of the Barcagate investigation’ when this information is yet to be shared.
‘In any case, the article in question makes public documents that have nothing to do with the ongoing case and their use is an affront to the reputation and confidentiality of the club. For that reason, and with the aim of protecting Barcelona’s rights, the club’s legal department are studying the legal measures that need to be taken.’