Lionel Messi has revealed Barcelona’s players will take a 70 per cent pay cut during the coronavirus pandemic.
Barcelona announced last week that they would apply for an ERTE, which allows them to temporarily lower wages in exceptional circumstances, after failing to agree on a negotiated settlement with the players.
Clubs around the globe have been reducing employee salaries and even furloughing staff amid the ongoing crisis.
Reports suggested the Barcelona squad did not want to reduce their salaries despite players from the likes of Juventus, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund all accepting either pay cuts or wage freezes.
But Messi has hit back at these rumours and also slammed the LaLiga club’s board for ‘trying to put us under pressure to do something we always knew we would do’.
In a statement on his Instagram page, the 32-year-old wrote: “Much has been written and said about the Barcelona team in regards to the salaries of the players during this state of emergency.
“We want to clarify that our will has always been to take a cut in the salary we receive, because we fully understand that this is an exceptional situation and we are always the first ones to help the club when asked.
“Therefore, it does not surprise us that from within the club there were those who tried to put us under pressure to do something we always knew we would do.
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“The agreement has been delayed for a few days because we were looking for a formula to help the club and its workers during these difficult times.
“Apart from the reduction of 70 per cent from our salary, we will also make contributions so that club employees can collect 100 per cent of their salary while this situation lasts.
“We do not want to say goodbye without sending an affectionate greeting and a lot of strength to all those having a hard time in these very difficult times, as well as to all those who patiently await the end of this crisis in their homes.
“Very soon we are going to get out of this and we will all do it together.”
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Coronavirus, which has infected more than 700,000 people worldwide, has wreaked havoc on worldwide sport, with football in Spain suspended indefinitely amid the pandemic.