The first contracts signed by the Argentine, to which EL MUNDO has had exclusive access, contained abusive clauses by the club, the first of 150 million, in contrast to the last, of 2017, the highest in the history of football .


Leo Messi At the age of 14, he signed a first pre-employment contract with the Barcelona, to which EL MUNDO has had exclusive access. Accompanied by his parents as he is a minor, signed an agreement on December 5, 2001 that he joined him professionally with the Barça club and that it was the prelude to his first professional contract, which would not arrive until two years later. Then, Messi was a “non-professional football player, integrated into the squad of amateur football players at FC Barcelona”.

It constituted a first agreement in which he already acquired the commitment “in a reasonable period of time, to ensure the services as a professional player” of the Barça entity for a period of “nine seasons” and a first penalty was established for the benefit of the player: 150,253 euros in case FC Barcelona did not want, in 2003, to make him the promised professional contract. That is, if it were the footballer who decided not to sign his first professional contract with the Catalan club to “link to another club”, he would have to compensate Bara with no less than five million euros. This fine was extended to the following three seasons. Parallel to these obligations, Messi’s first emoluments as a non-professional FC Barcelona player amounted to a “scholarship” of 5,409 euros per season, separate charge. An evident disproportion between the player’s income and the penalty for leaving the club that was customary at the time and that was later considered by the courts as practically slave clauses, as revealed by the ruling of the ‘Baena case‘, former footballer of the Barça lower categories.

Both parties faithfully fulfilled their commitment and on July 1, 2003 they sat down to sign the footballer’s first employment contract. On the one hand, the then president Joan Laporta; your Vice President of Operations, Ferran Soriano; and his sports vice president, Sandro Rossell. On the other, Lionel Messi again accompanied by his parents, who “jointly had parental authority over the minor and, consequently, agree, ratify, legitimize and complement the legal capacity of his son.” The Messi family was assisted by the Argentine lawyer Ivn Horacio Hernndez. The contract had a duration of nine years, expired on June 30, 2012 and reserved Bara a right of first refusal in case there was an offer from another team once the same expired.either.

€1,500 per match

Next, his economic conditions were established, derisory when compared to the emoluments he received during his last seasons at the club, but high for a player of his age. Thus, Messi agreed to earn a fixed amount of 45,977 euros during the 2003/04 season and 1,503 euros per official match played separately. These amounts increased considerably over time. In such a way that during the following season, Messi went on to earn a fixed amount of 64,368 euros and 1,653 euros per game. In 2005/06, the fixed fee was 82,759 euros and the subscription per official match was set at 1,803 euros. In 2006/07, the salary already reached 96,553 euros and the official match played, 2,104 euros.

The jump in his emoluments was set the following year, when he agreed to charge 275,865 euros and 6,010 per game. The figures of his contract were on the rise until in 2011/12 he ended up receiving a fixed amount of 432,188 euros and 8,414 per official match, understanding by the latter “all those official matches in which the player acts a minimum of 45 minutes “. “In case of playing less time, the minutes in which he acts would accumulate until completing the 45 minutes that will give him the right to receive the aforementioned prize,” the contract established.

9,015 euros for image rights

At the same time, it was agreed with Messi that he received a bonus such as “compensation agreed by the right of the technical team to fix the player in the most convenient position, summon him or not to play in official or friendly matches, line him up or any other sporting need”. This prize ranged between 5,109 euros per year in 2003/04 and 48,021 euros in 2011/12. In turn, he was paid for the transfer of his rights of image 9,015 euros per year in its first season and 84,743 euros in the last of the contract.

Those, the most important amount was linked to his presence in the club’s first team. In this way, “if he had played 25 games” with the first team, Messi agreed a “bonus” of 901,518 euros. If he played 45 matches, he would be paid the same bonus for the exact same amount, and if the number of matches reached 65, the automatic prize would be set back to another payout of the same amount. Of course, “you will not be able to receive more than one bonus in the same season, without prejudice to its accumulation for the following one”.

The termination clause was, without a doubt, the most important part of this first agreement. If he played in the first team and went to another club, he had to pay 150 million euros. If he played for Bara B, 80 million euros; and if, on the contrary, he was in C, the price of his freedom was established at 30 million. In the event that it was Bara who decided to dispense with his services in advance, the compensation paid to him would range between 180,304 euros and 300,506 euros. Again, an abusive disproportion.

Messi, who made his debut with the Barça first team in October 2004, remained at FC Barcelona until the expiration of his last contract, in 2021, signed in 2017. At that time, he earned what no athlete in the world had ever earned before : up to 138 million per season between fixed and variable, while having signed a renewal bonus of 115,225,000 euros and a loyalty bonus of 77,929,955 euros. He scored 672 goals and won 35 titles: 10 league titles, 7 Copas del Rey, 8 Spanish Super Cups, 4 Champions Leagues, 3 European Super Cups and 3 Club World Cups.


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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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