Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, has said they can afford Lionel Messi’s new contract, despite the club’s wage bill being above a recommended limit.
Messi will reportedly earn close to €565,000 (£500k/$645k) a week until June 2021, making him the highest-paid player in European football .
The Argentina captain is behind only compatriots Carlos Tevez and Ezequiel Lavezzi on the global stage.
Bartomeu hailed Messi as the best player in the world and says he deserves every penny the La Liga club pays him.
“It started several months ago when I told his father, Jorge, that we had to sit down,” he told Mundo Deportivo.
“Everyone knows Leo had a bad summer last year with the tax problem he suffered.
“We let some months pass so that the timing was balanced and then I told Jorge that we had to start talking about the renewal, and he told me to talk to his son.
“I talked to Leo and asked how he was, because of what had gone on. I told him we had to talk about the future. He replied: ‘I want to stay here. Talk to my dad.’ And that’s it.
“We can’t reveal how much Messi costs the club but he’s the best player in the world and he costs what the best player in the world and the history of football should. Nobody brings to their club what Leo Messi brings.
“The LFP and UEFA make recommendations but nobody sets a salary cap. We are above what is recommended but the important thing is to be sustainable. We can afford it.”