Barcelona Contract Leak Reveals Lionel Messi 2nd Only to Neymar Among Earners

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 5, 2017

A combination of images shows (L-R) Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi, Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian striker Neymar and Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
Neymar was named alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on the three-man shortlist for the Best FIFA Men's Player Award, which was announced in London on September 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Lluis GENE        (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)
LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

New details on Lionel Messi's recent Barcelona contract extension have revealed the Argentinian is second only to former club team-mate Neymar in the earnings table in football.     

Catalan newspaper El Mundo reported Messi's gross earnings will amount to €70 million per year (£62 million), giving the forward a net income of €35 million (£31 million) through 2021 (h/t Sport's Albert Gracia).

That puts the Barca talisman on a far superior wage to Cristiano Ronaldo, who reportedly takes home €21 million (£18.6 million) per year in salary, not accounting for image rights, merchandise and other earnings.

Speculation was rife that Messi could leave Barcelona in the near future prior to his contract extension on Nov. 25, and Sport Witness provided further details on Manchester City's interest in the player:

El Mundo reported Barca will pay Messi a salary of €50 million (£44.2 million) on top of a €20 million (£17.7 million) annual renovation bonus to account for the gargantuan figure.

Messi's old contract was set to expire at the end of the 2017-18 campaign, but with the club flying at the head of La Liga and through to the UEFA Champions League knockout stages, building on their greatest star's success was of paramount importance.

La Liga took at look at the prolific scorer:

Goal cited a report from Football Leaks in September, which read that Neymar will rake in an annual salary of €36.8 million (£32.5 million). That equates to roughly €700,000 per week (£618,000 per week).

Messi's countryman Carlos Tevez receives a reported €38.4 million (£34 million) annual pay at Shanghai Shenhua, although his earnings elsewhere aren't as high.

There is concern at the Camp Nou, however, as Gracia reported the first-team salaries will now account for 84 percent of the club budget, which is significantly higher than the target of 70 percent.

Such is the sacrifice a club may have to make in order to ensure it retains one of the best players in the world, per the Champions League:

Messi is now contracted to the Blaugrana until the summer of 2021 and will be approaching his 34th birthday by the time of its completion. The club will need to move again before then, though, if it wishes to extend one more.