Barcelona news: Lionel Messi and key players must take pay cut or club could go bankrupt

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Barcelona's financial crisis is so severe the club faces bankruptcy by January, reports in Spain claim. 

Interim president Carles Tusquets faces a baptism of fire as he takes over the reins from Josep Maria Bartomeu. 

Bartomeu's resignation will not be some watershed moment whereby all the club's off-field problems are resolved. 

In fact, the board have just a matter of days to convince players to take a 30% paycut, per radio station RAC1 and reported in AS

One of the major stumbling blocks as they look to reduce the wage bill by €190 million is Lionel Messi's lucrative contract. 

Were it up to Messi, who earns in excess of €500,000 a week, he wouldn't even still be at Camp Nou having tried to leave in the summer.

However, it's not as simple as allowing the Argentine to move on at the end of the season, as that will prompt a departure bonus in his contract. 

Messi's pay packet is far from the only issue. Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Ousmane Dembélé, Antoine Griezmann, Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti and Miralem Pjanic all earn in excess of €200,000 a week. 

What happens now? 

Barcelona now have until November 5 - that's next Thursday - to speak to players' lawyers, a process which began earlier this week. 

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This has all come to a head in spite of the Blaugrana having diversified into several different streams of revenue.  

All have been hit by COVID-19. Not only are matches at Camp Nou being played behind closed doors, the club have lost tens of millions from their normally busy museum. 

They are also reportedly down at least €15m from their football schools - and this is hitting a club which, according to some estimates, is already in debt to the tune of €888 million. 

The pandemic has been catastrophic for Barcelona and teams around the world, looking on, will be reminded that no club, whatever their size, is immune from the financial crisis engulfing world football. 

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