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“There are people who want to hurt Barcelona and Leo” – Koeman fears “malicious” contract leak with Messi

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Blaugrana have threatened legal action against El Mundo after newspaper published details of Argentina’s massive deal

Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman has been left in turmoil after details of Lionel Messi’s contract leaked to the media – and has vowed to identify and punish the culprit.

Barca are in financial disputes, but the numbers shown on the six-time Ballon d’Or winner’s deal were astronomical.

El Mundo reported that Messi’s current deal is worth € 555m (£ 491m / $ 674m), including € 138m (£ 112m / $ 167m) in annual profit.

Barcelona have threatened legal action against the newspaper after the release of details of Messi’s contract.

With Messi out of contract this summer, his future clearly looks uncertain, especially given the sums of money in his current contract.

Nonetheless, he continues to lead the club on the pitch as he did in the 2-1 win over Athletic Club, in which he scored a superb free kick to reach 650 career goals for Barcelona.

“Anyone who disclosed Messi’s contract cannot have a future at Barca,” Koeman said after the meeting. “What came out in the press about Messi was done in a malicious way.

“We have to try to find out how it got out in the press. We have to focus on our season. The team is doing well lately. We won a lot of games. We don’t have to focus on this problem, but there are people who want to hurt Barca and Leo.

“Messi has demonstrated his quality as a footballer for years, has helped a lot to make this club great and has helped a lot to win titles.”

Koeman denied that the post gave the 33-year-old Argentinian additional motivation on the pitch.

“I noticed that Messi was very motivated, but not more than for the other matches”, added the Dutchman.

“Of course, today’s news could have affected him. You have to respect the important players who have done so much for this club.

“Leo is a winner, he always wants to prove his quality. It is important to be united. ”

Meanwhile, Koeman praised his entire team for the way they anchored their victory.

“The team was very good, especially in the first half. We deserved one more goal, ”he said.

“The team had a major reaction after their goal. When it was 2-1 we had to defend the result and we did it.

“The team is growing, we are playing better, also from a defensive point of view. In February, we will still have a lot of games. It’ll be hard. It’s not easy with only two days off between games, but the team’s mood is very good. “

Despite the victory, Barca remain 10 points behind the pace of Atletico Madrid, who also have a game in hand.

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