Barcelona chief makes worrying admission about Lionel Messi's new contract

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Lionel Messi once again underlined his undying importance to Barcelona during Sunday's 1-1 draw against Villarreal at El Madrigal.

With mere seconds remaining of normal time, the Argentine found the top-left corner with a phenomenal free-kick to rescue a vital draw.

Barcelona remain five points behind table-toppers Real Madrid - who have a game in hand - but history tells us every point matters in a title race.

However, as football fans will know, the Catalonians' problems stretch further than just their position in La Liga at the moment.

While Messi continues to deliver for Barcelona, there's the small issue of the Argentine's contract at the Camp Nou, which expires in 18 months' time.

Club chiefs are understandably desperate to tie Messi down to a new deal but, for one reason or another, no agreement has yet been made.

Money is reportedly the biggest issue for Barcelona. According to various sources, Messi is demanding £825,000-per-week wages but his employers are struggling to stump up the funds.

That's according to executive director Oscar Grau anyway, the Spaniard explaining recently how Barcelona might not be able to afford Messi's wages but must find a way to do so.

"It is a situation we need to look at with cool heads and common sense," he said, per The Sun. "Barcelona cannot spend more than 70 percent of our budget on wages. Therefore, we have to work it out.

"One option is to increase revenues, as we see in our strategic plan. We want to have the best, but maybe we have to prioritise.

"We want the best player in the world, and the best ever, to stay at Barcelona. I would like to reassure members and fans, but we must always act with common sense."

Much depends on the validity of claims that Messi wants £825,000-per-week, because if he loves playing for Barcelona so much, surely he would lessen his demands.

Grau's update follows on from reports that contract negotiations have stalled between Messi and Barcelona, with an official meeting yet to be arranged.

The 29-year-old is understood to have rejected a new deal last summer and since then negotiations have only taken place over the phone.

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La Liga
Lionel Messi
UEFA Champions League
Argentina Football
Luis Suarez

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