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Messi is first £1m a week player

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Barcelona are to pay Lionel Messi a basic wage worth more than £1m a week.   Messi's gross salary under a four year contract has been set at an annual €60m (£54.8m).   If the contract runs for its full term Barca are committed to paying him £220m before performance bonuses.

Barcelona had total revenues of €620.2m (£548.6m at current exchange rates) in 2016, the second highest figure in football after Manchester United.  Last season the club budgeted for €695m of income and, according to its own analysis, Messi contributed 20 per cent of that figure.  

Does that mean if he left revenues would fall by 20 per cent?   Hardly, but a key motivation for Barca is to keep him out of reach of rich rivals like Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

Barca's move to elevate Messi's salary significantly beyond the €21m that Real Madrid pay Cristiano Ronaldo may serve to complicate their rivals effort to keep their own leading goalscorer in Spanish football.  Ronaldo, who signed a revised five year deal in November, recently informed Real Madrid that he wanted to leave the country after a state invetigation into his tax affairs.

Messi is also embroiled in tax evasion allegations, but his prison sentence for tax offences was replaced by €252,000 fine, although he would have been unlikely to have served time in prison under Spanish law.

56 years ago Johnny Haynes at Fulham became the first footballer to be paid £100 a week.  By 1994 Chris Sutton was being paid £10,000 at Blackburn Rovers.   In 2009 Carlos Tevez topped £200,000 a week at Manchester City and now earns three times more than that with Shanghai Shenhua.