Real Madrid fan Rafael Nadal has weighed in on the debate over Lionel Messi’s leaked contract which claimed the Argentine had received over 555 million euros since signing four-year deal at the Camp Nou in 2017.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner struggles to see why Messi should be criticised for being paid what the club feel they want to give him.
"I don't understand the debate," Nadal told reporters in quotes carried by Marca.
'I liked what Novak said' - Medvedev backs Djokovic over vaccine being 'personal'
"There's a player there who is undoubtedly one of the best in the history of football and he charges what the club are willing to pay him.
After that, there's no debate. The club considered him deserving of the contract and they're the ones who have to deal with their finances.
- 'It's a lack of respect' - Koeman hits out at PSG courting Messi
- Draw delayed but Tiley 'absolutely confident' Aus Open will go ahead
Nadal also gives his thoughts on his club Real Madrid. He feels they are currently going through “tough times” with the La Liga club 10 points off top spot in Spain.
"[Real] Madrid's situation is difficult," Nadal added.
"It's a lot harder to plan at a sporting and club level, to plan signings, renewals, and the crisis makes it difficult to know what could happen.
"These are tough times, and everyone has to try to survive.”
'An amazing effort' - Nadal pays to Australia's Covid-19 effort
After drawing level with Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slams last year, Nadal could once again capitalise on the Swiss's absence from this year’s Australian Open to become the most successful player in men's tennis.
But he continues to be plagued by a back injury as doubts grow about his participation at the Australian Open. The 34-year-old said he is undergoing medical treatment.
"I'm not fatal, but I'm not well enough," Nadal said.
"I'm undergoing treatment and I trust that things will get better, but I'm not ready yet.”
Nadal on epic Australian Open matches - My Grand Slam Journey
- - -
The Australian Open is live on Eurosport. Watch every match live and ad-free on the Eurosport app and eurosport.co.uk. You can download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now.
How can Norrie qualify for ATP Finals? Who else is in contention?
Nadal: I don't know when I'll be able to play again