Barcelona risk losing Messi over wage bill

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La Liga president Javier Tebas has warned Barcelona they risk not being able to register Lionel Messi next season if they don’t reduce their wage bill.

Messi’s deal expires in six days, and he has not yet made a public decision on whether he will extend his 20-year relationship with the club.

President Joan Laporta remains optimistic Messi will sign new terms at Camp Nou, but Tebas said Barca must ensure they remain within the league-imposed salary cap.

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

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Barca had the largest cap in Spain’s top flight in 2019-20 at €671 million.

However, La Liga’s new limit for the 2020-21 season was €382.7m. The Catalan club were given some leeway in terms of reducing salaries, but it meant they were unable to register Memphis Depay despite agreeing on a fee with Lyon last September.

La Liga could technically prevent them from registering Messi’s new contract or inscribing new signings this summer if they don’t adhere to certain financial regulations.

Messi’s most recent four-year deal, signed in 2017, was worth over €500m including his annual wage, signing on fees and bonuses.

Barca’s wage bill has grown since the end of the season, with the signings of Eric Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Emerson Royal and Depay.

Meanwhile, they are struggling to shift some of the biggest earners at the club, including Samuel Umtiti and Philippe Coutinho.

Tebas, though, said renewing Messi will be possible if Barca, whose gross debt stands at almost €1.2 billion, take measures this summer.

By ESPN

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