Gerard Pique has revealed that all Barcelona’s four club captains will be taking salary reductions to help the financially troubled club.
The Spain International already sacrificed its wages to help the club register new signings. His fellow captains Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, and Sergi Roberto are expected to do the same soon.
Pique said he had to be the first to take the reduction so the club could register some of its new players in time for its opening game of the new 2021-22 LaLiga campaign, which Barcelona won 4-2 at the Nou Camp against Real Sociedad.
The Catalan side lost club icon Lionel Messi because they couldn’t give him a new contract because of LaLiga’s strict financial fair play regulations, leaving him to make the shock switch to PSG last week.
Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia, who both started on Sunday, reportedly couldn’t have been registered without Pique’s salary reduction.
‘It’s what had to be done,’ the 34-year-old defender said.
‘The other captains will do the same soon. Because of a timing issue I had to be the first one so we could register the players. The captains have always intended to make the adjustments needed by the club. We are proud of this decision.’
There had been some reports that Alba had not intended to reduce his salary, which saw the left-back jeered by some returning fans on Sunday.
‘Sometimes there are misunderstandings,’ Pique said. ‘After last season ended, the captains talked and we were on the same page to try to reach a deal with the club.’
Alba said it hurt to hear ‘lies’ about his commitment to Barcelona and dismissed the notion that the club couldn’t keep Messi because other players didn’t want to reduce their salaries.
‘I’ve always been willing to help the club,’ he said.
‘No one should doubt me. I’ve been here for 10 years, and eight more in the youth squads. This is my home, the club of my life, and I’ll always help it.’
Barcelona’s debt is more than £1billion. The current president Joan Laporta blamed the previous administration of Josep Bartomeu for leaving the club in the critical situation that led to Messi’s departure.