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Lionel Messi is constantly named as one of the world's greatest footballers - potentially even the best that the sport has ever seen.
According to a leaked report made by Spanish publication El Mundo,Messi's four-year contract with Barcelona is worth €555 million (£491m/$674m).
His earnings amount to €138m (£112m/$167m) a season, based on the deal he signed with the Catalan team when he extended his contract in 2017.
The report claims that Messi's current earnings make him the highest-earning athlete in the history of sport.
Messi has already earned €510m (£452m/$619m) of his salary,with an additional €45m (£40m/$55m) windfall expected until the end of his contract in summer 2021.
Messi's earnings are made through his salary, hismarketing rights as well as other endorsement-related bonuses.
El Mundo's findings come at a time when Barcelona have beenstruggling with their€1.2billion (£1.1b/$1.5b) debt.
Barcelona have confirmedthat they plan to sueEl Mundofor the leak for revealing the details of Messi's contract without their permission.
"FC Barcelona categorically denies any responsibility for the publication of this document, and will take appropriate legal action against the newspaperEl Mundo, for any damage that may be caused as a result of this publication," thestatement on their official websitereads.
"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."
The legendary attacker has been expected to depart Barcelona at the end of this seasonafter being denied a transfer last summer following his decision to activate the release clause in his contract.
In an exclusive interview withGoal, Messi conceded that he was committed to spending the 2020-21 season at Camp Nou out of his loyalty to Barcelona fans.