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Lionel Messi may be forced take Barcelona pay cut or leave the club - Insider

Emili Rousaud called Messi's $670,000 weekly wages "unsustainable" and said the interests of the club must come first.
  • Lionel Messi will be forced to leave FC Barcelona next summer if he does not take a pay cut on his $670,000 weekly wages.
  • That's according to club presidential candidate Emili Rousaud, who says the Argentine's current pay packet is "unsustainable."
  • "We'll ask him to make the sacrifice. If there's no agreement, then Messi will leave," Rousaud told ARA.
  • Messi is free to speak to other clubs from January with his current contract at the Camp Nou expiring in the summer. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Lionel Messi will be forced to leave FC Barcelona next summer if he does not take a pay cut on his 500,000 euro ($670,000) weekly wages.

That's according to club presidential candidate Emili Rousaud, who says the Argentine's current pay packet is "unsustainable." 

"We'll have to sit down with Messi and ask him to make a salary cut," Rousaud told Catalan newspaper ARA. "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."

Messi attempted to force a move away from the Camp Nou in August by handing in a transfer request, however backed down after the club refused to sanction his release.

The 33-year-old forward had publicly fallen out of former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who resigned in October.

Rousaud is one of a number of candidates seeking to succeed Bartomeu, with the election set for January 24. He sat on Barcelona's board from 2015 until early 2020, resigning in April in protest at Bartomeu's running of the club.

Candidates in the election are taking a variety of approaches to the Messi situation, with some attempting to pacify the club's greatest ever star, and others looking to grudingly move him on.

"Messi has written the most brilliant pages in the club's history. We have to honor our legends, but the reality is what it is," Rousaud added.

"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."

Messi, who is in the final year of his contract and free to speak to other clubs as of January, scored the only goal as Barcelona beat Levante 1-0 in La Liga on Sunday.

The victory was just Barcelona's fifth in 11 top flight games this season, form that sees it sit eighth in La Liga, nine points behind leaders Real Sociedad. 

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