Lionel Messi and Barcelona squad to take 70% pay reduction during coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus

BARCELONA, SPAIN – MARCH 07: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on during the Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad at Camp Nou on March 07, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Lionel Messi and the rest of the Barcelona squad will take a 70% pay reduction in order to help the club financially during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Argentine posted the announcement on his personal Instagram account on Monday, adding players would be making further contributions so that every Barcelona employee would receive their full pay during the state of emergency.

However, the statement was somewhat barbed, suggesting Messi and his teammates did not need to be asked by the club’s hierarchy to take the deduction.

“A lot has been written and said about the FC Barcelona first team in regards to the player salaries during this state of emergency,” said the statement, which Messi posted on behalf of the squad.

“Before anything, we want to clear up that our desire was always to have a salary reduction that seems appropriate because we understand perfectly that it’s an exceptional situation and we’re the first ones who ALWAYS have helped the club when it’s asked us.

“A lot of times we’ve done this of our own accord, in other moments where we deemed it necessary and important.”

READ: Ronaldo and Juventus squad give up $100 million in wages amid outbreak

“It never ceases to surprise us that within the club there are people who want to put us in a bad light and try to pressure us to do something which we were always clear that we’d do.”

The statement said the delay in the announcement was simply due to the players finding the best solution that was “really going to help the club but also the most affected in this situation.”

Spain has become one of the countries most affected by the novel coronavirus outbreak with more than 80,000 cases and 6,803 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, putting the healthcare system under immense strain.

Barcelona officially confirmed the initiative on its website and social media channels after Messi’s post went live. Fellow attacker Luis Suarez also posted the same statement on his Instagram account.

Barbed statement

This season the relationship between the Barcelona hierarchy and Messi has becoming increasingly tense.

In February, the 32-year-old Argentine criticized the club’s Sporting Director Eric Abidal for accusing the players of not working hard enough under former coach Ernesto Valverde.

Messi had already reportedly donated €1 million ($1.1 million) to the fight against coronavirus.

The money is set to go toward both treating infected patients and researching Covid-19.

“Very soon we’ll be able to come out of this and we’ll all be together,” Messi added, in a message to fans, as part of Monday’s Instagram post

A number of other high-profile players are also leading the fight against the virus, with Cristiano Ronaldo donating €1 million ($1.1 million) to help hospitals in his native Portugal.

Last week, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski also donated €1 million to help fight the outbreak in Germany.

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