Lionel Messi, Barcelona players agree to 70 percent wage cut and help employees during coronavirus outbreak

Getty Images

Lionel Messi and his Barcelona teammates have agreed to take a 70 percent pay cut in salary as Spain is in a state of emergency and soccer leagues all over the world are currently suspended as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Messi took to Instagram to make the announcement, but added that he was surprised the club put pressure on the players to reduce wages. Barcelona soon followed by putting out a statement.

Aside from the players taking pay cuts, Messi and his teammates are going to make a separate contribution to help the non-sporting staff at the club earn their full salaries as long as needed. Here's what Messi had to say:

"We want to clarify that our desire has always been for a reduction to be applied to our salaries because we understand that this is an exceptional situation and we are the first that have ALWAYS helped the club with what they have asked of us.

"Many times we have even done things on our own accord, at moments when we felt it necessary or important to do so.

"For that reason, it surprises us that from inside the club there would be people that want to put us under a magnifying glass or try to pressure us into something that we were always clear we wanted to do. In fact, if the agreement has dragged on, it's because we were looking for a formula to help the club and its workers in these difficult times.

"For our part, the moment has arrived to announce that, aside from the 70 percent wage cut during the state of emergency, we are going to also make contributions so that all the club's employees can earn 100 percent of their salaries for as long as this situation lasts."

This isn't the first time this season Messi has been critical of the club. Last month he criticized sporting director Eric Abidal, a teammate of his from 2007-13, who said the players weren't working hard under previous coach Ernesto Valverde. Messi took to social media and indirectly asked that any criticism should be done so by name, or else they're "dirtying everyone and feeding things that are said and are not true."

For this situation, this gesture will certainly ease the financial worries of many employees who aren't able to go to work as a result of the virus outbreak. As of Monday, Spain had the fourth most cases in the world with over 72,000, according to the World Health Organization. Players and coaches on Juventus recently took a pay cut to help out the rest of the club, with Cristiano Ronaldo forgoing around $10 million

During this standstill, teams are losing out on ticket sales, merchandise sales and more while leagues face the issue of trying to come up with a plan to satisfy broadcasting contracts. 

UEFA has targeted June 30 to complete the 2019-20 season, though UEFA's president has since said action needs to get underway by July so the season isn't lost

CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Goal.com... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories