La Liga president: Barca risk losing Messi if they can't reduce wages

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La Liga president Javier Tebas warned Barcelona they must reduce their wages or risk losing Lionel Messi when his current contract expires in nine days.

"Barcelona have exceeded their wage cap," Tebas said Monday, according to ESPN FC's Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens. "I hope they can keep Messi, but to do so, they will have to make cuts elsewhere."

The top flight of Spanish football introduced a squad wage cap of €382.7 million prior to the 2020-21 season. Although Barcelona were entrusted with some elbow room, the Catalan giants had €671 million in wages during the previous campaign.

Messi, who's at the Copa America tournament with Argentina, hasn't publicly expressed his intentions for next season. The star's current deal, which he signed in 2017, is worth over €500 million.

La Liga could technically block Barcelona from registering Messi's new contract or making new signings this summer if the club fails to observe the league-imposed financial regulations, Marsden and Llorens note.

Tebas' warning comes days after Barcelona chief Joan Laporta admitted the organization's finances are in worse shape than he imagined.

Laporta claims the best way to reduce wages is to coordinate a series of summer departures, something Tebas echoed Monday.

"Barca have to restructure their debt," Tebas said. "If they manage that, the situation won't be serious."

Philippe Coutinho, Neto, Martin Braithwaite, Samuel Umtiti, and Junior Firpo are among the players Laporta and Co. are looking to sell to help reduce first-team wages.

Barcelona's current debt is around €1.2 billion, which includes a €100-million bank loan used to pay players' wages last season. On Sunday, Barcelona's board approved a €525-million loan from Goldman Sachs, Marsden and Llorens note.

Laporta says the loan - which can be repaid over a 15-year span on 3% interest - will be used to address the club's ballooning debt.

However, a bevy of Catalonia-bound free transfers, including Sergio Aguero, Eric Garcia, and Memphis Depay, are due to receive significant wages.

"They have taken their wage bill to the limit," Tebas said. "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 €700-million losses (across La Liga), half of it is for Barcelona. There are other big clubs that have made a bigger effort to avoid it," Tebas added.

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La Liga president: Barca risk losing Messi if they can't reduce wages
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