Barcelona presidential candidate Emili Rousaud has revealed Lionel Messi will need to take a wage cut in order to stay at the club.
Rousaud is in competition with Joan Laporta and Victor Font, amongst others, to secure the presidency when the decision is announced on the 24th of January, and keeping the Argentine is central to their plans.
The 33-year-old tried to leave the club ahead of this season over a public fall-out with former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, and now he’s free to discuss end-of-season talks with his contract coming to an end.
Messi continues to be linked with a move away from the club with Manchester City and PSG keen to bring him in, but Rousaud insists that the six-time Ballon d’Or winner can be persuaded to remain at Barcelona.
‘He did not want to leave the club for economic reasons. It was down to the lack of a sports project,’ Rousaud told Sport.
‘I will look him in the eyes and say: “Your salary is unsustainable, the club cannot pay you. But we are going to launch a project to surround you with young talent.”’
Despite the financial concerns that could lead to a pay-cut for Messi, Rousaud is confident of the club acquiring the world’s best young stars.