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Messi's Contract With FC Barcelona Reportedly Allows Him to Leave if Catalonia Becomes Independent

After details of Argentine football legend Lionel Messi's 555 million euro contract with Barca were leaked, El Mundo has revealed on Tuesday even more staggering clauses in his deal, above all finally allowing him to become a free agent if Catalonia is granted sovereignty.

According to the report, Barcelona will be thrown out of the Spanish national championship La Liga to compete in the Catalan league if Catalonia achieves independence.

It was decided in the contract that if that were the case, then the six-time winner of the Ballon d'Or would be allowed to depart for free immediately.

Messi was reportedly requested by Barcelona to "integrate into Catalan society and culture" in exchange for putting pen to paper on the largest contract in the history of sport. Moreover, Barcelona allegedly tried to enhance Messi's comprehension of the Catalan language.

The contract also notes that Messi must "adopt a suitable personal behavior and rhythm of life" and not participate in doping.

The report of the newspaper comes amid the football club's recently released financial report for the 2019-20 season that estimated a gross debt of 1.2 billion euros.

According to the most recent disclosures of the leaked contract, Messi was guaranteed a gross salary of 138 million euros per season. For accepting the offer, he received a "renewal fee" of 115 million euros and is said to take home at least 79 million euros per year in a "loyalty" bonus for remaining at Camp Nou.

While Messi only has five months remaining on his current contract, he so far has raised approximately 511 million euros. Moreover, if Barcelona wins the Champions League, which the team hasn't done since 2015, the Argentine is also guaranteed a bonus of 3.5 million euros. 

Earlier, Barcelona announced on their official website that they will file a lawsuit against El Mundo and anyone involved in the leak. According to media reports, Messi's side is also preparing a lawsuit against the newspaper.

Messi's frustration with his boyhood club was exacerbated after an 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in August, which caused a disappointing exit from the Champions League. Messi submitted his transfer offer, but an exit was refused on contractual terms. In order to prevent a court battle against his lifelong club, he later decided to remain.

Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu eventually took the fall and resigned in October along with his entire board room. He denied having any role in the leak of Messi's contract information.

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