Gerard Pique was made the world’s highest-paid centre back after Lionel Messi become the highest-paid athlete in history.
In 2018 Messi agreed an eye-watering and record-breaking £600million renewal with the club, but it’s now been revealed just a month later Pique also signed a similarly staggering deal.
‘Barcaleaks’ have obtained emails in which they claim the former Manchester United defender asked to be paid more than his then-Real Madrid rival Sergio Ramos, and had his wishes granted.
Pique agreed a deal that saw him pocket €142m [£124m] over five years with a net salary of €12m [£10.5m] per-year, rising to €15m [£13.1m] if objectives were met – leapfrogging him over Ramos’ €12.5m [£10.9m] in Madrid.
The most recent revelations also show Barca accusing Pique of causing ‘very serious damage to the club’ as a producer of the documentary ‘The Decision’.
The television show saw Antoine Griezmann announce he was staying at Atletico Madrid over joining Barca, despite then making the move the following summer.
Earlier in the week, ‘Barcaleaks’ also broke the details of Messi’s potential contract extension in 2020, which was eventually not signed.
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In exchanges between Messi’s father, Jorge, and Bartomeu, the latter succumbed to 11 demands made by the Argentine, some of them rather bizarre.
The contract clauses included a box at the Camp Nou for his and Luis Suarez’ families, the lowering of his buy-out clause from €700million [£611m] to €10,000 [£8,740] and a private jet to Argentina for his family during the Christmas holidays.
Despite being agreed on by the club, that deal was eventually not signed, with Messi joining Paris Saint-Germain a year later for free.
With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting in 2020, Barca’s overspending was soon exposed, and Bartomeu left disgraced in October that year when an earlier scandal dubbed ‘Barcagate’ accused him of hiring a social media company to smear star players.
Current incumbent Joan Laporta returned in March 2021, announcing that Bartomeu had left the side with €1.3billion [£1.1bn] worth of debt, eventually leading to Messi’s departure, and a number of stars, including Pique, taking pay-cuts.
Following the release of Messi’s 2020 contract negotiations, Barcelona have expressed their ‘indignation’ at the news, adding: “The club’s legal services are already studying the appropriate measures to undertake.”