LIONEL MESSI’S £492million Barcelona contract is the biggest in sporting history, leaked documents suggest.
The Argentine great, 33, is coming towards the end of his latest four-year deal at the Nou Camp.
And Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported the total value is €555,237,619 – or £492m – after obtaining a copy of the 30-page confidential paperwork.
That is made up of a fixed salary, image rights, variables as well as the tax that Barcelona have had to pay.
It trumps NFL star Patrick Mahomes’ £402m deal with Kansas City Chiefs.
Messi’s bumper contract, therefore, is worth on average up to £123m-per-year with all the bonuses included.
One of those bonuses was a £102m ‘renewal fee’ simply for signing on the dotted line in November 2017.
He then pockets an extra £69m each year as a ‘loyalty bonus’ for staying at the club.
Barcelona released a statement on Sunday morning to deny leaking the documents and threaten legal action against El Mundo.
But there was no denial of the figures in question which puts the contract as the biggest ever. Here SunSport reveals the top 10.
CASINO DEALS: BEST SIGN UP OFFERS TO CLAIM OVER £700
WEST HAM 1 LIVERPOOL 3
Wijnaldum and Salah on scoresheet as Klopp’s men turn on style
Ronaldo’s famous 8ft 5in leap beaten by Motherwell ace – who TAUNTS Juve star
LAYING IT BARE
Paige VanZant says she’ll ‘still be beautiful’ even if she gets ‘cut open’
Keepers from both teams collapse on pitch in freak horror coincidence
READY FOR THE RUMBLE
Charlotte, Alexa, Mandy & more share sexy snaps ahead of Royal Rumble
Watch Tony Hawk nail 720 aged 52 as legend admits it may be his last one
Lionel Messi – £492m
Messi tried to quit Barca last summer by attempting to trigger a clause in his contract allowing him to leave for free.
But after threatening legal action, he made a dramatic U-turn to see out the final year.
However, he is expected to leave after 20 years this summer with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City among the mega-rich clubs hoping to land the six-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Speaking in December, he admitted he still ‘doesn’t know’ what he will do at the end of the season.
Patrick Mahomes – £402m
NFL star Mahomes, 25, penned a ten-year contract extension worth £402m to stay with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The contract, which equates to £40.2m-per-year, also has a £112m injury guarantee.
Mike Trout – £341m
Los Angeles Angels tied down the eight-time MLB All-Star, 29, to a £341m contract.
The three-time American League Most Valuable takes home an incredible £28.3m-per-year during his 12-year deal.
Canelo Alvarez – £292m
When Mexican boxer penned an 11-fight deal with DAZN in 2018.
The four-weight champion, 30, had a deal worth £292million – which averaged out at £26.5m per fight.
But he officially got out of the contract in November 2020 after suing Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy promotions and DAZN for ‘out of ring failures’.
Neymar – £278m
Messi’s former Barcelona team-mate Neymar is the only other footballer that has made the list.
Following his £198m move to Paris Saint-Germain, the 28-year-old received a five-year deal worth £278m – meaning he pockets £55.6m-per-year.
Bryce Harper – £264m
In March 2019, the right-fielder penned a 13-year deal with Philadelphia worth £264m.
At the time it was the largest contract in baseball history – worth £20.3m-per-year to the American ace, 28.
Giancarlo Stanton – £260m
The Miami Marlins proved Stanton, 31, was irreplaceable as they offered him a 13-year deal worth £260m six years ago.
But the MLB star did not see out his £20m-per-year contract at the club as he joined the New York Yankees in 2017.
Geritt Cole – £258m
Cole, 30, was snapped up by the Yankees in 2019 when he was a free agent after leaving Houston Astros.
He accepted a nine-year deal worth a whopping £28.6m-per-year.
I don’t know if I’m going to leave, but if I do I would like it to be in the best way possible
Manny Machado – £238m
After leaving the LA Dodgers, the five-time MLB all-star was wanted by the Padres and Chicago White Sox.
But the Padres lured the 28-year-old to their team with a 10-year deal with an annual salary of £23.8m.
Nolan Arendo – £207m
Last but not least on the list, Arendo pocketed £25.8m-per-year when he extended his deal with the Colorado Rockies.
The eight-year extension made the seven-time golden glove winner, 29, one of the highest earners in the MLB.