Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has insisted that star player Lionel Messi agreed to take a pay cut in salary amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The Barca chief’s claims come following the Argentine ace’s damning social media post in which he denied suggestions of greed and even criticised some senior members of the club’s board.
The La Liga giants said that players would have a 70 per cent cut from their salary, as to ensure the rest of the staff were able to take home their full wage, but then reports emerged suggesting that senior players and club directors clashed over the reduction.
Messi, however, then took to social media to deny that the players were ever unhappy with taking a wage cut.
Now Bartomeu has come out in his defence, to further squash reports that the global superstar – and his teammates – were unhappy with the cuts.
He said to SPORT : “Messi told me from day one that this reduction had to be made.
“This proposal came from the captains. It is a gesture that demonstrates their commitment to the club.”
Bartomeu continued: “Perhaps [the players] have been frustrated by things said by people inside and outside the club, who do not have all the information.
“But the negotiations were carried out only by Oscar Grau and me and we have not said anything.”
Messi had released an Instagram post that was shared by other members of the Catalan club.
The statement said: “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.
The 32-year-old continued: “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.
“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.
La Liga has been postponed indefinitely as the country has gone into lockdown. Spain is one of the worst-affected countries amid the pandemic, with almost 8,000 dying of the virus so far, while almost 90,000 are still suffering from the illness.