Being an FC Barcelona player is a dream come true for many aspiring footballers. If a player had signed with the club during the reign of former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, chances are, that player is sitting on a very lucrative contract. However, that may all change for the current squad.
The Barcelona wage bill has been described as "over-inflated" numerous times in the past year, and the club's current financial crisis is proof of that. New president Joan Laporta is trying his best to rectify the situation, but that means having to basically force players to agree to salary cuts despite having rock-solid contracts.
Before Lionel Messi ended up leaving the club, it is believed that he had agreed to a new deal with a massive 50% reduction from his previous contract. Barcelona management had hoped that would be enough to re-sign the Argentine. Furthermore, they were also hoping that his sacrifice will convince other players to accept reduced wages.
Messi earned 555,237,619 million euros in the final four years of his stint with Barcelona, and while that amount is eye-watering, other players in the squad were not far behind. The squad earned much more than what the club could really afford, especially when the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Now, Barcelona has a debt worth over 1.3 billion euros which has accumulated over many years. They were unable to offload enough players during the summer to be able to afford Messi, and now they are still having trouble getting their new summer signings inside the salary cap. Pique has played his part, with Sergi Roberto expected to follow suit by signing a contract extension with reduced wages.
According to Marca, the dressing room isn't happy with the situation. Basically, players are being forced to reduce their own wages in order to accommodate the new players. Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Rey Manaj were already registered thanks to Pique, but the club needs more players to restructure their salary packages.
Fans are turning hostile towards players who have not signed reduced deals, with Jordi Alba getting boos and whistles from the crowd at the Camp Nou.
The players had already agreed to deferred payments last season, after the club first approached them in light of the pandemic. Now, even more sacrifices are being asked. Loyalty and performance bonuses are reportedly being taken out, leading to losses of at least 20 percent.
After the captains, the club will reportedly ask the rest of the club's top earners to agree to the same terms. It remains to be seen if the club will be able to pull it off, or if they will end up in an even bigger internal battle.