Based on attribute evaluation and other data collections made by a new science journal, the Argentine may not merit such a high salary…

A new study on player wages has claimed that Barcelona may not be getting their money's worth out of Lionel Messi's astronomical weekly salary.

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The Argentine has won the Ballon d'Or an unprecedented five times since making his debut at Camp Nou, helping Barca to a decade of glittering success.

That wonderful talent has been duly compensated with a salary package that makes Messi one of the richest men in sport, alongside Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

According to the International Journal of Computer Science in Sport, however, he may not merit such a high valuation.

The IJCSS compiled salary data and performance analysis from Europe's top leagues in their study, choosing 2016 as a base year.

Variables such as age, position, club and a whole host of attribute evaluations in key areas were collected and run through an algorithm designed to determine each player's 'real' worth.

And despite his status as one of the finest players in the world, Messi comes out at the top of the list of overpaid stars, with the IJCSS contending his true value is some €320,000 lower than his actual weekly wage.

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"Clearly, the salary of a football player is affected by numerous factors that are not directly related to performance or skills. For instance, a player liked by the fans can have higher compensation to reflect merchandise and ticket sales," the report concludes.

"For instance, a player such as Lionel Messi receives a weekly wage of €550,000 given that part of it is sponsorship, merchandise sales, image rights, and other incomes outside the scope of wins or performance on the field.

"Using pattern recognition, Messi’s predicted salary computed based on the performance and wages of the current football players in the major football leagues would have been about 50% less, although according to the method he would still be the world’s highest paid player."

Fellow Argentine Angel Di Maria and Galatasaray's ex-Arsenal star Robin van Persie complete the podium.

PlayerActual wage (In €, 2016)Predicted Wage
Lionel Messi550,000243,333
Angel Di Maria230,00058,974
Robin Van Persie210,00061,428
Ivan Rakitic180,00061,556
Nicolas Otamendi180,00061,556
Edin Dzeko165,00053,873
Philippe Coutinho170,00060,552
Isco170,00060,552
David Luiz170,00061,599
Sergio Busquets220,000115,342

Conversely, Harry Kane and Bernardo Silva appear as the most underpaid players on the IJCSS list.

Kane has of course since signed a lucrative new contract with Tottenham, while Bernardo will line up at Manchester City next season after completing a move from Monaco.

PlayerActual wage (In €, 2016)Predicted Wage
Bernardo Silva10,000119,907
Harry Kane15,000119,798
Granit Xhaka70,000171,176
Timo Horn25,000119,581
Francisco Alcacer80,000170,588
Gelson Dany Batalha Martins30,000119,472
Renato Sanches35,000119,364
Paul Nardi25,000104,548
Andrea Pirlo50,000129,500
Lavyin Kurzawa50,000119,038

You can read the full IJCSS report on players wages, including the methodology and data used in compiling the results, here.

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