The numbers published by El Mundo on Sunday regarding Lionel Messi's contract, in which they reveal the Barcelona forward's deal is worth a maximum of €555,237,619 over four years, has created a lot of noise at the Catalan club.
The big debate to emerge from the figures is the following: Is Messi worth what he's paid? According to a number of economists consulted by the newspaper Libertad Digital, Messi's contract profitable for Barça's interests financially because the presence of the Argentine generates annually more than he is paid.
"Messi is the fundamental part of Barça's usual income," said Marc Ciria, an economist and the founder of Diagonal Investments. "I am analysing how much money he generates for the club and the figure is between €250m and €300m. If his salary is €140m annually, Barça are making €100m at least.
Ciria adds that Barcelona's numerous sponsors "renew year by year" due to the fear that Messi could leave the club at the end of the season.
Cinto Ajram, who was the former Head of Partnerships Activation at FC Barcelona, also spoke with Libertad Digital to analyse Messi's contract. Ajram agreed with the theory that the brands working with Barça "wouldn't dar renew for three or four years because they don't know what the club's value will be without (Messi)."
The former Barça employee also revealed an interesting statistic relating to Barça's summer tour: "In the club's tours during the last five years, 50 percent of the revenue depended on Messi playing the games."
MESSI CONDITIONS LA LIGA'S VALUE
Messi's presence doesn't only condition Barça's income. Francesc Cruces, the vice president of online marketing agency Octagon and the academic director of the Sports Management School, told EFE that "the exit of Messi (from La Liga) would affect the negotiations over television rights."
The competition, presided over by Javier Tebas, also made €92.4m in sponsorship in 2019-20, a number that would also be hit by the absence of the league's biggest draw. La Liga's television rights, meanwhile, are due to be re-negotiated domestically in 2022 and internationally in 2024.