Messi says Barcelona players taking 70% pay cut

Full Screen
1 / 3

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi attends the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, March 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

MADRID – In a letter critical of Barcelona club officials, Lionel Messi said Monday he and his teammates are taking a 70% cut in salaries because of the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Messi wrote in a social media post that the players will also make donations so other club employees are not affected by the upheaval.

“A lot has been said about Barcelona's first team and the players' salaries during the country's state of alarm," Messi wrote in the letter. “Before anything, we would like to make it clear that we have always wanted to reduce our salaries as we perfectly understand that this is an exceptional situation and we ALWAYS were the first ones to help the club when it asked. Actually, we have done that on our own in moments when we felt it was necessary or important.

“Therefore, it surprises us that within the club there were those who wanted to put us under scrutiny and tried to put us under pressure to do something that we always knew we would be doing.”

Messi said it took a few days to announce the deal because “we were looking for a formula to help the club and also its workers in this very difficult moment.”

The donations the players will make are expected to help cover 100% of the salaries of club employees.

Earlier this year, Messi publicly complained about club officials after some criticized the players' efforts amid a controversial coaching change and a run of poor results.

Barcelona said all members of its professional sports teams and most of the basketball team have agreed to a pay cut. It added the club would also be contributing to the salaries of other workers.