Gerard Pique has become the highest paid centre-back in the world after Lionel Messi became the highest paid athlete in history.
Information obtained by El Mundo Deportivo in what has been dubbed ‘Barcaleaks’ has detailed the club’s disastrous spending under former president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
In 2018, Messi agreed a mouth-watering, club-record £600million renewal with the club, but it has now been revealed a month later Pique has also signed an equally stunning deal.
The ‘Barcaleaks’ have received emails in which they claim that the former Manchester United defender asked to be paid more than then Real Madrid rival Sergio Ramos and that his wishes were granted.
Pique reached a deal that saw him pocket €142m [£124m] over five years with a net salary of €12 million [£10.5m] per year, amounting to 15 million euros [£13.1m] if targets were met – surpassing him to Ramos’ €12.5m [£10.9m] to Madrid.
The latest revelations also show that Barca accuse Pique of causing ‘very serious damage to the club’ as the producer of ‘The Decision’ documentary.
The TV show saw Antoine Griezmann announce he was staying at Atletico Madrid to join Barca, although he then moved on the following summer.
Earlier in the week, ‘Barcaleaks’ also released the details of Messi’s potential 2020 contract extension which was ultimately left unsigned.
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In the exchanges between Messi’s father Jorge and Bartomeu, the latter succumbed to 11 demands from the Argentine, some of them rather bizarre.
Contract clauses included a box at Camp Nou for his and Luis Suarez’s family, lowering his €700m buyout clause [£611m] at €10,000 [£8,740] and a private jet to Argentina for his family over the Christmas holidays.
Although he was accepted by the club, this deal was ultimately not signed, with Messi joining Paris Saint-Germain for free a year later.
Messi’s eleven conditions for renewal in 2020
– Contract until 2023 with the possibility of unilateral extension for Leo Messi
– Fixed salary: 20% of the 2020/21 fixed salary is reduced, recover 10% of salary in 21/22 and additional 10% in 22/23 with interest of 3% per year
– Payment of loyalty bonuses pending collection with interest
– Box for the families of Messi and Luis Suárez
– Private Christmas flight for the whole family to Argentina
– In the event of termination of the contract, payment of the sums carried over to the 2020/21 season plus interest
– Bonus for signing the contract of 10 million euros (to be paid on 06/30/2023)
– Increase in remuneration in the event of a tax increase
– Removal of the termination clause, which will amount to a symbolic amount of 10,000 euros (at the time his clause was 700 million euros)
– The revival of Pepe Costa for his contract to last as long as Messi’s
– Signature of the club’s commitment to pay Rodrigo Messi the commissions due to him
With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting in 2020, Barca’s overspending was quickly exposed and Bartomeu went out of favor in October of that year when an earlier scandal dubbed ‘Barcagate’ accused him of having hired a social media company to smear star players.
Current starter Joan Laporta returned in March 2021, announcing that Bartomeu had left the team with 1.3 billion euros [£1.1bn] in debt, which ultimately led to Messi leaving, and a number of stars, including Pique, took pay cuts.
Following the publication of Messi’s contract negotiations for 2020, Barcelona expressed their “outrage” at the news, adding: “The club’s legal departments are already studying the appropriate steps to take.”