Messi to ink €1m-a-week contract?
Lionel Messi will take football salaries to an extraordinary new level when he formally agrees a four-year contract with Barcelona later this month, with the club reportedly gearing up to pay the Argentine a basic wage worth more than one million euros per week.
With the transfer fees for footballers increasing rapidly and record fees being dished out left and right, wages of players have also risen to unparalleled levels -- bolstered by manic spending by Chinese clubs -- in recent years.
However, all that will be left in the dust as, according to a source within the club, Messi's gross salary under the new agreement announced by Barcelona has been set at an annual 62 million euros (there are 52 weeks in a year), making it a deal worth more than one million euros a week.
If the contract runs for its full term -- by which stage Messi will be 34 -- Barca are committed to paying him 220 million pounds, before performance-related bonuses.
Although the Argentine has been consistently courted by suitors in Europe and Asia, Barca insist the decision to hand him football's most lucrative playing contract was a decision which the board themselves made. They reason that the sum is a fairer reflection of Messi's ability to generate income.
Last season, Barcelona budgeted for 695 milllion euros of income, and according to its own analysis, Messi accounted for 20 per cent (approximately 139 million euros) of that figure.
The move will also take Messi's salary significantly higher than what Cristiano Ronaldo earns and it is all but certain that arch-rivals Real Madrid will have to table a new deal with similar terms to pacify their 'unsettled' star.
Messi's deal comes 56 years after Fulham's Johnny Haynes became the first player in England to be paid 100 pounds a week. By 1994, striker Chris Sutton was picking up 10,000 pounds at Blackburn Rovers. In 2009, Carlos Tevez topped £200,000 a week at Manchester City -- the striker now earns more than three times that with Shanghai Shenhua in China.