Is Lionel Messi seeking to match Cristiano Ronaldo's salary?
While Gareth Bale may be the highest paid footballer in the world after his record move from Tottenham this season, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo look to be fighting it out for the highest annual salary according to widespread media reports.
With Cristiano Ronaldo agreeing a new contract at Real Madrid till 2018 on a reported annual salary of 17m euros (approx. Rs 146 crore), media in Spain and England is abuzz with reports that fierce competitor Lionel Messi too is seeking a hike in salary.
The world footballer of the year is reportedly unhappy at Ronaldo's new contract with rivals Real Madrid, especially being a player who has won the Ballon d'or four times in succession. The FIFA Ballon d'Or (Golden Ball) is an association football award given annually to the player who is considered to have performed the best in the previous year.
Spanish newspaper SPORT report that Messi is seeking a huge rise to his current pay packet that comes in at 12.5million euros (approx. Rs 107 crore). Messi has already scored six goals in three league games this season including a hat-trick away at Valencia while both him and Ronaldo opened up their Champions League campaigns with hat-tricks.
Barcelona president Sandro Rossell though has sought to deny the widespread media claims.
"Does Ronaldo's renewal affect Messi's contract? Messi hasn't said anything to us.
"He's happy here and he's at the best club in the world. No news is good news," said Rossell.
Messi is also facing charges and is due in court on September 27. The Argentine star and his father Jorge allegedly hid more than £3.4million between 2006 and 2009.