Speaking in an interview with AS, Barcelona presidential candidate Emili Rousaud admitted that Lionel Messi’s salary is not sustainable given the club’s current financial situation.

Rousaud went on to add that he hopes to keep the club’s all-time top scorer on a reduced contract.

What matters here is the sporting project. When Messi said he was leaving, he didn’t say it was to do with money. He is the highest-paid footballer in the world, no one earns more than he does. He didn’t want to leave because he doesn’t earn enough, he wanted to leave because he wants to win trophies. He said so at the time: ‘We aren’t going to win anything’. He wants to play for a team where there is talent. Obviously, with the current situation at the club, Messi’s salary cannot be sustained. It is not sustainable. An agreement would need to be reached. The project which we will present to him is an attractive one.”

Messi, who sought an exit from Barcelona in the close season, has less than seven months remaining on his current deal. He is free to negotiate with other clubs in a different country from January.

Rousaud is one of the candidates for the presidency at the Catalan club. The former Blaugrana vice-president hopes that his experience in business will convince club members to vote for him on January 24, 2021.