Barcelona presidential candidate Toni Freixa said that club skipper Lionel Messi will have to take a pay cut, much like the other players of the team, in order to extend his contract which is set to come to an end in the coming season.
Former Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu and rest of the club’s directors resigned last month ahead of an impending vote of no confidence. The elections are set to take place early next year and one of the presidential candidates Freixa said that even though he is eager to keep Messi in the squad, the Argentinian forward would have to make do with new terms.
“With Leo we will speak calmly, face-to-face with Barcelona’s best at the horizon,” Freixa told El Curubito . “To him, as to all the players who have to renew or sign, we will make an offer that, of course, will not be feasible to match the terms that he has had until now.
“It’s evident, and the members cannot be deceived, that the proposal that will be presented to him will not be the same as the one he has had until now, because income has fallen significantly and it will be necessary to find another formula.”
Barca are reportedly over £700 million ($921m) in debt at the moment, and are planning to take steps to reduce their £1 billion ($1.3bn) wage bill in order to balance the books amid the coronavirus crisis.
“You don’t have to conquer Messi or convince him with other things. You have to look him in the eye and talk with him to know what each party wants, what he wants and what Barcelona want. We think Messi still has a lot of football left to play,” concluded Freixa.
Messi wanted to leave his lifelong club before the start of the current season by triggering a certain clause in his contract but was rather forced to stay at the end.