Barcelona in turmoil as stars including Lionel Messi fail to agree pay cuts

Barcelona have been plunged into chaos as the Catalan giants failed to agree pay cuts with stars including Lionel Messi in a desperate bid to slash £170million off their budget.

The Blaugrana have been hit hard financially by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and have asked first-team players to take a 30% pay cut to stave off the threat of bankruptcy.

But, after 'several days of intense meetings', the club has failed to strike a deal with its players, they announced on Wednesday.

They said in a statement: "Today, November 11, after several days of intense meetings, and the negotiation was exhausted, the parties have ended the consultation period, without reaching an agreement."

As a result, the initial deadline for talks has been put back to November 23.

Players' wages accounted for around 61% of the club's pre-Covid revenue of £940million, with Messi the highest earner on roughly £500,000-a-week.

But with income falling to £746million amid the pandemic, on-field salaries are on track to become more than 80% of total revenue if cuts are not agreed.

Striker Antoine Griezmann and defender Gerard Pique each earn in excess of £200,000-a-week.

Barca moved on Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal in the summer in a bid to relieve themselves of some of their bigger earners.

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Stars have been assured that they would receive their wages in full at a later date as part of any agreement, but they are so far holding firm.

The statement continued: "Given that the negotiating process has shown the sincere and firm will of the parties to understand, including the formula for full recovery of wages to be postponed, and many of the difficulties that seemed days ago have been overcome.

"The parties have agreed to grant themselves a deadline of November 23, in order to reflect and decide whether the approaches that have remained on the table can still be accepted."

Pique is one of only four players to have agreed to the revised terms so far, along with goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Frenkie de Jong and Clement Lenglet.

If other stars do not agree to a pay cut, the club would be forced to unilaterally reduce their income.

But that would bring its own problems, with the players' union insisting they would be entitled to leave for free.

Barcelona players already took a 70% pay cut back in March to ensure all non-playing staff would receive the entirety of their wages as lockdown caused a halt to the season across Europe.

The Blaugrana have won just three of their opening seven La Liga matches under Ronald Koeman, sitting eighth in La Liga, nine points adrift of early pace-setters Real Sociedad with two games in hand.

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