Lionel Messi is going to great lengths to find out who was responsible for leaking private information about his Barcelona contract to Spanish newspaper El Mundo, which last Sunday published details about the player’s staggering €138 million-a-year deal at Camp Nou.
According to a report by Catalan radio channel RAC1, the Barcelona captain’s lawyers are looking to open a criminal investigation into the five figures who were entrusted with the full details of his contract – former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, former vice-president Jordi Mestre, current CEO Óscar Grau, current legal head Román Gómez Puntí, and current president of the management commission, Carles Tusquets.
Messi’s lawyers consider these five figures to be the only ones who would have had the ability to obtain all the information about his contract that were supplied to El Mundo. As a result, Messi’s lawyers will open criminal proceeding against the five men on the grounds that some or all of them were “necessary collaborators” in the leak.
Messi contract leak: Accused respond after El Mundo report
Bartomeu was the first to defend himself against the allegations last Sunday following the story’s publication and before the latest action from Messi’s lawyers.
“It is categorically false that I have leaked Messi’s contract,” the former president said in a text message sent to Catalan football programme, Gol a Gol.
“This is a very serious issue and it is totally illegal to filter professional contracts. Speaking on television and accusing is easy, but we are not joking, because this will end up in court.”
Following the El Mundo report, for his part, Mestre defended Messi against accusations that he has financially ruined Barcelona, which currently finds itself in a financial crisis. “Messi hasn’t ruined Barça and whoever says so either has no idea or says so bad faith,” said the former deputy sporting director before these latest allegations were aimed at him.
Tusquets, meanwhile, chose not to make statements when he was approached about the matter on Sunday at the Camp Nou exit after the match against Athletic Bilbao.
Barcelona opens internal investigation into Messi contract
For its part, the Barcelona has proceeded with opening an internal investigation to find out how the contract was leaked.
The club also said in a statement released on Sunday that it also intends to take legal action against El Mundo.