BARCELONA (Reuters) – Barcelona said on Sunday they will take legal action against Spanish newspaper El Mundo for publishing Lionel Messi’s contract with the club.
El Mundo published full details of the deal Messi penned with Barca in 2017 until June 2021.
The report said the contract, which was previously described by French newspaper L’Equipe as the most lucrative in football, had contributed to the club’s recent financial troubles, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Barca’s last accounts showed their net debt had doubled to 488 million euros ($592.24 million), while the club’s interim president Carles Tusquets said recently they had been forced to delay payments to players.
Barcelona denied any responsibility for the publication of the contract in a statement, adding they regretted its release as it was a “private document governed by the principle of confidentiality between the parties”.
The statement added: “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.”