The details of Lionel Messi’s eye-watering Barcelona contract were leaked deliberately, talkSPORT has been told.
Spanish newspaper El Mundo published the financial details of Messi’s astonishing £492million, four-year deal at the Camp Nou over the weekend
Barcelona are in financial turmoil and it was the same publication which earlier in the week claimed they are on the verge of bankruptcy due to €1billion debts.
On Sunday, Barca denied leaking details of Mess’s contract to the newspaper, with a statement confirming the club will also take legal action against El Mundo.
Messi, who scored his 650th goal for the Catalans at the weekend, has endured a fractured relationship with the club over the past 12 months.
He tried to enact a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave on a free transfer last summer.
Barcelona insisted the clause had expired, however, and he was forced to stay at Camp Nou.
The relationship between Messi and the club appears to have improved somewhat following the departure of president Josep Maria Bartomeu earlier this season.
However, the relationship has once again come into question due to the recently leaked contract documents.
And European football expert Andy Brassell told talkSPORT that he believes the leak was made to shift some of the blame onto the Argentina star.
Speaking on talkSPORT’s Trans Europe Express, he said: “We are going to read it out in the name of accuracy: €555,237,619, the contract that is ruining Barcelona, according to El Mundo.
“That’s over four years, and 92 per cent of the bonuses that are part of that figure have been met already.
“It included a €67m signing on fee, a €74m loyalty bonus as well, and it’s clear what’s happening here.
“Someone has leaked this to prove that the club can’t keep Messi, and it’s not in their best interests, and I guess to shift some of the blame onto him. A bit like Kobe Bryant in his final years at the Lakers.
“Maybe that’s why they can’t regenerate the team and put it all on that one man and his relationship with money.
“Barcelona beat Athletic Club and Ronald Koeman came out and said there’s someone who has come out to injure us and poison the club.
“Maybe not in the way he thinks as in his view it’s of the team. Whether you think Messi is worth this or not, the interesting thing is that these figures are correct because the club have come out and made a statement today saying this is completely out of line but have not denied the figures in it.”
talkSPORT pundit Kevin Hatchard also argued that the club could have shouldered the financial cost of the contract had they been run better.
He said: “I actually think, as eye-watering as those figures are, I don’t have a massive problem with those figures because if Barcelona were run better by Bartomeu, who is no longer in charge, then they could insulate themselves against that.
“If you think of the success he’s brought them, the marketing money he’s brought them, then you can get away with a max contract like that.
“If you bring more talent through La Masia, bring more young players through, and you don’t blow more money on wages and transfers, which is what they have done, and you look at the team they have left. Have they spent wisely?”