The Whatsapp messages between the then club management of FC Barcelona show how great the annoyance about Lionel Messi was. Messi is a youth product of Barça, but moved to Paris-Saint-Germain in 2021 after seventeen seasons after months of bickering over a contract extension that ultimately did not materialize.
On January 31, 2021, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo unpacked Lionel Messi’s “strangling contract” that “ruined” FC Barcelona. The leaked figures showed that Messi had earned no less than 555,237,619 euros gross between 2017 and 2021, which was one of the explanations for the precarious financial situation of the Catalan club. Gerard Piqué’s contract was later also leaked.
The Spanish police are investigating these leaks because they suspect club directors have been guilty of unauthorized distribution of confidential information and personal data. Through that investigation, salient details are now emerging about how a number of star players were communicated.
The central figure is Román Gómez Ponti, then head of the legal department of FC Barcelona. He wanted a number of players to sacrifice their salary to help the club through the corona pandemic, but not everyone wanted to answer that question. Police wanted to know if he was behind the leaks, as 10 months before the publication of Messi’s contract, he suggested in an email the idea of leaking player contracts “so that people would publicly reject them”. The police managed to intercept that email.
To investigate whether he had effectively implemented that plan with the leak to “El Mundo Deportivo”, the police examined the Whatsapp conversations between Ponti, chairman Josep Maria Bartomeu and CEO Oscar Grau. However, the leak caused a stir in the Whatsapp group, which seems to indicate that it was not an orchestrated action by the club directors, although the police do not rule out that it was a smokescreen.
“Whoever leaked the contract hurts the club,” chairman Bartomeu wrote in the group. But in his reply, Ponti is downright scathing for Messi. “Barto, really, you can’t be such a good person for that sewer rat. The club has given him everything and now he controls transfers and contract extensions like a dictator. Actually, the contract extensions of Suarez and Jordi Alba should be added to the figures (in The World, net.)… Just like the accumulation of blackmail and brutality that the club and those who support it have had to endure at the hands of that hormonal dwarf who owes his life to Barcelona. And if things go badly with the club due to the pandemic, you will receive a Whatsapp from him: president, lower the salary of others, but don’t touch mine and Luis.”
CEO Oscar Grau backed Gómez Ponti’s diatribe with a “yes”, while chairman Bartomeu said he agreed “on a lot of things”.
Gerard Piqué also suffered for his statements following the 2-8 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on August 14, 2020. Piqué, currently in his 15th season with Barça, said his club needed changes in all areas. levels.
“You have to have few scruples to be such a whore,” wrote Gómez Ponti.
Sergio Busquets is another club monument to Ponti, who advises chairman Bartomeu to “sack players who have no market value and cannot be transferred (Busquets can be an excellent example). We give them minimal compensation and forget they were ever here because they refuse to help the club.”
Bartomeu left FC Barcelona in October 2020 after pressure from the fans who see him as the man who destroyed the club. Ponti and Oscar Grau have also left the club.