Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has announced that players at the Catalan club will cut their wages by 70 percent among the growing crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
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Messi, 32, released the update on his Instagram account on Monday as he also hit back at critics who had called for a wage reduction earlier as the situation had deteriorated in Spain over the last week.
The Barcelona and Argentine legend explained that extra time was taken to make sure every single member of staff at Barcelona would be paid due to a combination of their wage reduction and initial funds provided by the players.
“The time has come to announce that, apart from the reduction of 70 per cent of our salary during the state of alarm, we are going to make contributions as well so that club employees can collect 100 per cent of their salary for the duration of this situation,” Messi aaid. “If we did not speak until now, it was because the priority for us was to find solutions that were real to help the club.”
He also hit out at critics who had called for earlier action from the players as the Argentine superstar continues to find his voice, particularly when it comes to standing up against those in power at Barcelona.
“Much has been written and said about the first team of FC Barcelona in what refers to the salaries of the players during this state of alarm,” Messi said. “First of all we want to clarify that our will has always been to apply a decrease in the salary we receive, because we fully understand that this is an exceptional situation and we are the first ones who have always helped the club when asked.
“Many times we have even done it on our own initiative, at other times that we thought necessary or important. It does not surprise us that from within the club there were those who tried to put us under the magnifying glass and tried to add pressure about something that we always knew we would do. In fact if the agreement has been delayed for a few days it is simply because we were looking for a formula to help the club and also its workers in these difficult times.”
What Messi says goes and increasingly there is a feeling that he will one day be the president of FC Barcelona. If not, the way he has spoken out against the club suggests that tensions are running high and he could well be thinking about spending the final few years of his playing career away from Barca.