Barcelona star Lionel Messi could lose almost $50 million in take-home pay after he and his teammates agreed to take a 70% pay cut to help their club control costs while sports are shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Forbes magazine reports that despite the huge dent in his payslip, Messi will remain among the three highest-paid players in his sport and among the highest-paid athletes in the world.
Messi had earlier taken a dig at the club’s administration for what he termed as placing the players under unfair levels of scrutiny while negotiations over wage cuts continued. The news came following reports of a disagreement between senior Barca players and club directors over the degree of wage reduction.
The reigning world footballer of the year currently earns $90 million annually in salary and partially guaranteed bonus before taxes, thanks to a contract extension he signed in November 2017 that commits him to Camp Nou through June 2021.
Messi had earlier this week donated $1.1 million to two hospitals fighting the coronavirus: one in his native Rosario, Argentina, and one in Barcelona, Spain, the second-most-impacted European country with coronavirus cases.
Italian soccer club Juventus announced that it had reached an agreement with its players and coaches to implement a wage cut while Serie A play is indefinitely shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Barcelona and Juventus are the latest among many European clubs, including German Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, to institute wage cuts while play is suspended. Just yesterday, Atlético Madrid in Spain’s La Liga announced wage reductions.