Football

Messi salary at Barca unsustainable: presidential candidate

Lionel Messi’s salary is too huge for Barcelona due to their financial predicament, presidential candidate Emili Rousaud has said, adding that he wishes to keep the club’s all-time top scorer on a reduced contract.

Messi, who sought an exit from Barca in the close-season, has less than seven months remaining on his deal with the club where he has spent his entire career. He is free to negotiate with rival clubs from January.

Former Barca vice-president Rousaud, who resigned this year out of protest at how the club were being run by then-chief Josep Maria Bartomeu, said Messi would accept a lower salary if he could be convinced the club will return to winning ways.

“In the club’s current situation, Messi’s salary is not sustainable. So we’ll have to reach an agreement with him. We will present an attractive project to him,” Rousaud told Spanish newspaper AS on Tuesday (Dec 15).

“What matters most here is the sporting project. When Messi said he was leaving, he didn’t mention money. He has the highest salary in the world, no one earns more than him, he doesn’t want to leave  because he earns too little.
“He wants to leave because he wants to win trophies. He referred to that recently when he said: ‘The Champions League is not within our reach’. He wants a team full of talent.”

Barca were ranked as the club with the biggest revenues in European football by the 2020 Deloitte Money League, but the Covid-19 pandemic has obliterated their finances. Last week, the Catalan giants announced they were delaying salary payments to players.

Messi was named the top-earning footballer in the world by French newspaper L’Equipe earlier this year, claiming an estimated 8.2 million euros (S$13.3m) per month from Barca.

Rousaud, one of many candidates running in the club’s presidential election on Jan 24, also said he wishes to name Barca’s renovated Nou Camp Stadium after Messi, a move he believes will help attract sponsors.

The election is being held two months earlier than planned after Bartomeu resigned in October. – REUTERS

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