Messi can only be registered for 2021-22 season if Barcelona reduce wage bill, warns La Liga president Tebas
La Liga president Javier Tebas has warned that Lionel Messi can only be registered for the 2021-22 season if Barcelona reduce their wage bill.
Messi's future remains the subject of much debate as he approaches the end of his current contract with the Blaugrana.
The Catalan giants announced debts in excess of €1 billion (£858m/$1.2bn) in January amid the loss of matchday revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Tebas says they will need to cut salary costs across the squad in order for Messi to be eligible for selection next term.
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What's been said?
Messi's current four-year deal at Camp Nou has earned him a total of €555 million (£491m/$674m) , but Tebas insists that Barcelona cannot continue investing so much in the 33-year-old's talents without making sacrifices in other areas.
"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.
"We are not going to make Barcelona's wage bill more flexible. The rules are not going to be changed. We are not going to change any rule for Messi."
Tebas on Barca's financial plight
Tebas went on to criticise Barcelona for failing to take the same precautions that Real Madrid took in the early months of the pandemic in order to avoid the financial crisis they are now attempting to negotiate their way through.
"The severity of the situation depends on the resources they are capable of generating," he added. "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's current stance regarding Messi renewal
Barcelona president Joan Laporta gave an update on Messi's proposed renewal, insisting he has been encouraged by the club captain's attitude during negotiations .
Laporta also revealed that new signing Sergio Aguero has been doing his part to speed up the process, telling La Vanguardia: "Aguero is helping. He is telling him every day to stay.
"He [Messi] is excited and I am grateful to him for the desire he is showing to stay."