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The details of disgruntled superstar Lionel Messi's four-year extension contract signed back in 2017 was revealed by Spanish newspaper El Mundo in a bombshell report by Marti Saballs and Esteban Urreiztieta. The maximum amount €555,237,619 was splashed on the publication's front page presented with the headline of, "Messi's pharaonic contract that has ruined Barcelona."


The Argentine Lionel Messi has a contract with FC Barcelona that amounts to €555,237,619 gross, to be paid in four seasons until its expiration next June 30. The figure is the sum of a fixed salary, image rights, a series of multi-million-euro bonuses unprecedented to date, daily allowances and a list of variables depending on various objectives. 

Some further details of the contract include the fact that the Argentine winger earns a fixed total of €138 million per season, which increases based on certain variables -- namely statistical targets and club accomplishments. He was also given €115,225,000 as a "renewal fee" for accepting the contract, and an additional €77,929,955 as a loyalty bonus.

In summary, we're looking at:

  • Just under $674 million over four years (roughly $168.5M per season)
  • Renewal fee estimated at roughly $140M
  • Roughly $94.6M loyalty bonus

It should come as no surprise that arguably the greatest player of his generation is earning a salary that is 15 times that of NHL star Alexander Ovechkin, or five times that of NBA superstar LeBron James, but the context with which that contract falls under likely explains the framing.

FC Barcelona reported back in October that the the effects of the coronavirus pandemic led to a loss of 97 million euros. It was then reported Friday, reported that the club's debt sits at €1.173 billion, which has caused some internal disputes over whether the club can afford to sign players like Eric Garcia, if they can sign anyone at all, according to Sid Lowe of ESPN.

On top of all of this, Barcelona had a chance to potentially recuperate some of this money had they decided to sell Messi's contract this past summer transfer window when he requested to leave. Major disputes over the technicalities of the Argentine's contract led to a situation where the club had placed a very high transfer fee on the greatest player to ever suit up for them, which caused even the clubs backed by a king's ransom and a half to turn away. Now he'll see out the end of his contract meaning he walks for free.

Barcelona as a whole are in perhaps one of the more dire situations of the club's modern history. Their homegrown superstar wants out, their manager is struggling to make good choices on the pitch, the team sits fourth in the league -- a whole 10 points behind league-leading Atletico Madrid, who have a game in hand -- and now this report has dropped, adding more stress to things. Worst of all: there's no sign that things will be getting much better anytime soon, and we'll all be reminded of just how bad things are again once the summer transfer window hits.