Lionel Messi & Co refuse to take second pay-cut ahead of La Liga return

Barcelona player Lionel Messi

Barcelona players have turned down a second pay cut with the club in serious financial trouble ahead of La Liga’s restart, according to recent reports.

Lionel Messi and his team-mates have knocked back the Barca’s attempts to reduce their wage bill further after the squad had accepted an initial reduction.

According to RAC1, the players have rejected pleas that club President Josep Maria Bartomeu – made in person at training on May 23 – to give up more of their salary to help the club.

The Catalan side are struggling to deal with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic despite La Liga’s imminent restart on June 11.

The squad agreed to a 70 per cent pay cut back in March with the Spanish club expected to lose around £174million in revenue.

Captain Messi was one of the first players to announce the agreement which also saw the team donate funds to top up the salaries of non-playing staff.

But Messi unhappy at club bosses for placing extra pressure on the players to accept the deal when they would have agreed to it anyway.

In a thinly-veiled dig at club executives, he said: “Our desire has always been to take a pay cut, because we understand perfectly that this is an exceptional situation.”

The first pay cut is thought to have saved a total of £12.5m but reports claim Barcelona are still £9m short of what they need to recoup.

Although relations between the players and the club hierarchy have improved, the squad are not willing to see wages slashed for a second time this year.

With Barca returning to football action on June 13 against Mallorca, the players are believed to have no intention of sanctioning more cost-cutting as they return to work.


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