Barcelona risk losing Lionel Messi due to high wage bill, insists La Liga president

Barcelona could lose their skipper Lionel Messi next season if they don't reduce their wage bill, warns La Liga president Javier Tebas.

Lionel Messi-Barcelona

La Liga president Javier Tebas has warned Barca to reduce their wage bill ahead of next season.

Barcelona could lose their skipper Lionel Messi next season if they don’t reduce their wage bill, warns La Liga president Javier Tebas.

The Argentine’s contract is due to expire this summer, and president Joan Laporta appears confident of a new two-year deal.

However, Tebas insists that the Spanish top-flight’s newly revised salary cap could present a difficult situation for the Catalans.

Tebas said: “Barcelona have exceeded their wage cap.”I hope they can keep Messi, but to do so, they will have to make cuts elsewhere.”

Barca’s salary cap was reported at 671 million euros before the 2019/20 season – the highest in La Liga – but the league has reduced the limit to 382.7 million euros for the 2020/21 season.

Besides Messi – the highest earner in football, there are several other fringe players like Samuel Umititi and Philippe Coutinho, who are on high salary terms. Still, Barca are trying to offload them this summer.

The Catalan club have already signed the likes of Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia and Memphis, and though they are all free transfers, the club’s wage bill has only grown.

Nonetheless, Tebas insisted that Barca can renew Messi’s deal if they restructure their debt, which currently stands at 1.2 billion euros.

“The severity of the situation depends on the resources they are capable of generating. Barca have to restructure their debt. If they manage that, the situation won’t be serious.

“But they have taken their wage bill to the limit. And when football has coughed — or, better put, punctured a lung — they haven’t wanted to absorb that loss of income. They must take measures.

“Of the €700m losses [across La Liga], half of it is for Barcelona. There are other big clubs that have made a bigger effort to avoid it. Real Madrid have made a commendable effort to ensure their losses aren’t the same as Barca, who take the trophy for losses.”

Barca have been sanctioned a loan amount of 525m euros from Gold Sachs, and Laporta stated that the money would be used to deal with the debts.

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