Barcelona presidential candidate Emili Rousaud reckons Lionel Messi’s salary is so “unsustainable” that he will have to take a pay cut if he wants to stay at the club.
Messi is out of contract at the end of the season and is therefore able to speak to clubs in January over a potential transfer.
The 33-year-old wanted to leave in the summer but Barcelona insisted interested clubs must pay his entire £630million release clause to sign him.
JOHNNY NIC: Premier League needs to vaccinate against VAR
Messi has been off his stunning best this season, scoring nine goals in 16 appearances and speculation continues over his future, with Manchester City most strongly linked.
And Rousaud claims the club will be forced to allow Messi to leave unless he agrees to cut his salary.
“We’ll have to sit down with Messi and ask him to make a salary cut,” Rousaud told ARA (via Goal).
“Right now, with things as they are, it’s unsustainable.
“We’ll ask him to make the sacrifice. If there’s no agreement, then Messi will leave.”
Rousaud added: “Messi has written the most brilliant pages in the club’s history. We have to honour our legends, but the reality is what it is.
“I believe that things have to be said as they are. We can’t fool our members. We’ll make every effort to ensure he stays, but always with the interests of the club first.”