Barcelona's mammoth wage bill, which currently stands at a worrying 73 per cent of the club's budget, is set to get even bigger in the coming months with Leo Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar all set for wage rises.
Much has already been said about Barcelona's financial woes. They may be the best football club on the planet, but it has come at a huge cost. Their wage bill – a reported €419million – is likely to make them the highest paying sports team in the world in 2016.
A huge chunk of that wage bill, according to Marca, heads into the pockets of their 'Golden Trident' or 'MSN' as many fans have dubbed them. Yes, between them, Messi, Neymar and Suarez will cost Barcelona €100million-a-year by the time their contracts are renewed.
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Together, they form possibly the deadliest attacking force that club football has ever seen. Messi and Neymar both graced the Ballon d'Or podium this year while many pundits were surprised to see Suarez absent from it.
In 2015, Barcelona scored an incredible 180 goals, which broke Real Madrid's long-standing record. Of those 180 goals, Messi and Suarez scored 48 a piece while Neymar grabbed 41. Who came fourth? Ivan Rakitic with seven. They are key to Barcelona's success, but, as previously stated, their outstanding performances are set to come at a huge cost to the club.
Five-time Ballon d'Or winner, Messi, is the undisputed jewel in the crown and his wages understandably take up the lion's share of that €100m. Marca say Messi will be earning €50m-per-year by the time next season gets underway, making him by far the best-paid footballer on the planet, ahead of Ronaldo's paltry €45m-a-year.
Neymar, who has proven himself to be a worthy heir to Messi's thrown over the last 12 months, is in line for the biggest pay rise. The Brazilian is still on the same terms as he was when first arriving from Santos in 2013; a wage of €15m-a-year. Currently in contract talks, he is likely to double that to €30m.
Finally, Suarez, who also earns €15m-a-year, is set to get a more modest pay rise to €20m when Barcelona talk to him in the summer. That brings the total for the three to a nicely rounded €100m. But can Barcelona sustain that sort of payout? Only time will tell.