Barcelona have denied responsibility for the publication of Lionel Messi’s current contract with the Catalan giants.
Spanish newspaper El Mundo published the astonishing details of the Argentinian's deal, claiming Messi is earning over €555 million across his four-year contract.
Reports in Spain say Messi will seek to take legal action against the newspaper, while Barcelona have confirmed they will be doing the same.
A club statement read: "In view of the information published today in the newspaper El Mundo, in relation to the professional contract signed between FC Barcelona and the player Lionel Messi, the club regrets its publication given that it is a private document governed by the principle of confidentiality between the parties.
“FC Barcelona categorically denies any responsibility for the publication of this document, and will take appropriate legal action against the newspaper El Mundo for any damage that may be caused as a result of this publication.
“FC Barcelona expresses its absolute support for Lionel Messi, especially in the face of any attempt to discredit his image, and to damage his relationship with the entity where he has worked to become the best player in the world and in football history.”
Messi’s existing deal expires at the end of the season, and he has previously said he is in no rush to decide on his future.
El Mundo claimed earlier in the week that Barcelona were “on the verge of bankruptcy” as they wrestle with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the club finances.
Barcelona will hold their elections for a new club president in March, to replace Josep Bartomeu, who was frequently criticised by Messi.