Leakage Lionel Messimultimillion dollar contract with Barcelona has noticed the high amount of taxes footballers pay in Spain, prompting the league to raise concerns about the departure of its top star.
Details of Messi’s € 555 million ($ 671 million) contract over four seasons were released by El Mundo newspaper on Sunday, angering the club and sparking promises of lawsuits.
The contract made headlines everywhere, and Spanish league president Javier Tebas took the opportunity on Monday to underline the high amount of tax Messi has to pay.
He noted that the Argentine great has to pay around € 270 million ($ 326 million) in taxes on his contract, nearly half of its value.
Tebas said that in Italy, for example, a player with a similar contract would have to pay around € 135 million ($ 163 million) in taxes.
“We will have a talent exodus to other countries,” Write Tebas on Twitter. “That [league] will be missing out on players helping generate 1.37% of the country’s GDP and more than 180,000 jobs. ”
Tebas has long criticized Spain’s tax requirements for footballers, saying they put the league at a disadvantage in transfer negotiations. He has pushed the Spanish government to change some of its tax rules which may scare off some players.
The rules in Italy and France are considered to be less stringent on players than in Spain.
Local tax authorities in Spain have been chasing down soccer stars in recent years, accusing some of them of fraud about how they interpret local laws, particularly regarding image rights.
Authorities are increasing their monitoring of player tax filings and have made efforts to address suspected irregularities.
Messi himself was convicted of tax fraud in Spain in 2017, receiving a 21 month probation sentence that ended as a fine.
Jose Mourinho was also under investigation during his time as coach Real Madrid.
Among the details about Messi’s leaked contract are the loyalty clause and the bonus for signing an extension in 2017.
El Mundo said Monday that Messi should learn Catalan and was encouraged to “ make every effort to integrate into Catalan society. ”
The Spanish daily also said Messi had asked for his contract to be canceled if the Catalonia region gained independence from Spain.
33 year old Messi has been together Barcelona for nearly two decades, helping them win more than 30 titles.
He asked to leave the club last season, saying he was unhappy with the direction they were going, but his request was turned down.
He can leave for free at the end of this season.