Lionel Messi and Barcelona players have agreed to sacrifice most of their wages in order to help limit the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their team.
La Liga matches in Spain have been indefinitely suspended since March 12 as the nation struggles to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Messi—a six-time Ballon d’or winner—announced via Instagram on Monday (March 30) that players have agreed to a 70% pay cut. Messi and his teammates also committed to contributing additional finances to ensure the club’s employees receive their full wages during the Spanish lockdown.
‘we are going to also make contributions so that all the club’s employees can earn 100% of their salaries…’—Lionel Messi
“For our part, the moment has arrived to announce that, aside from the 70% wage cut during the state of emergency, we are going to also make contributions so that all the club’s employees can earn 100% of their salaries for as long as this situation lasts,” Messi wrote in a statement posted on Instagram.
Barcelona also issued a similar statement confirming the club will also contribute funds to fully guarantee “the salaries of all non-sporting staff at the club.”
Previous reports last week had suggested that some players had rejected Barcelona’s proposal to slash salaries. However, Messi insisted he and his teammates had always had the intention to reduce their wages.
Other football clubs such Atletico Madrid, Espanyol, and Alaves have also announced plans to reduce wages until football in Spain resumes.
Spain is currently the second-most heavily affected nation in Europe behind Italy, surpassing China with 85,195 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Monday.