EX-BARCELONA president Josep Maria Bartomeu has denied leaking Lionel Messi’s huge contract.
His deal, which is worth almost £500million, was published by El Mundo after the outlet received a copy of the confidential document.
Bartomeu told ESport3: “It’s a very serious issue and it’s totally illegal to leak professional contracts.
“Speaking on TV and making accusations is easy, but it’s not a joke and this will end up in court.”
The former president insists Messi deserves his massive contract and defended the astronomical sums involved.
Bartomeu said: “By the way, Leo deserves what he earns. Both for professional and commercial reasons.
“Without the pandemic, Barcelona could easily pay those figures.”
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Messi is reportedly closer to leaving the Spanish giants after his mega contract was revealed.
His deal included a £102m renewal fee and £69m loyalty bonus, with his weekly wage an eye-watering £2.4m.
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The Argentina superstar has put the leaking saga in the hands of his lawyers as he seeks to discover the source.
Messi was set to quit Barca last summer but reluctantly agreed to remain for this season.
But the 33-year-old is out of contract this summer with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain set to make huge offers to tempt him away from Spain.