• Tension looms in Barcelona as Lionel Messi and company refused to take a second pay cut
  • Barcelona players have already agreed to a 70% salary deduction in March
  • Barcelona returns to action on June 13 against Mallorca

Things are not looking quite well at Camp Nou with a few days left before La Liga restarts the season. A looming “war" is being speculated in Barcelona as players, led by Lionel Messi, are said to refuse a second pay cut from the club, which continues to address the financial strain caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

RAC1 reported on Wednesday that President Josep Maria Bartomeu personally met the team during a training session on May 23. In the said meeting, the 57-year-old reportedly asked the players if they would be willing to sacrifice having their wages reduced for a second time, but Messi and company immediately turned down the proposal.

“Barca players rule out accepting a second pay cut as requested by Josep Maria Bartomeu. The players have no intention of doing so while the Spanish League is underway,” the report read.

Citing Catalunya Ràdio, the same report added that Bartomeu's new proposed pay cut is “lower than the first” as the club “wants to save a little less than ten million euros.”

Under the first salary reduction agreement made in March, Messi and the rest of Barcelona's players would take 70% less of their wages as the projected losses in the club are estimated at £174 million.

Based on a calculation, Barca could save about £13 million from the reduction to Messi's salary alone, which was initially projected at £72.5 million annually.

The speculated tension inside Camp Nou could be treated as a disaster that was just waiting to happen. Notably, Messi was already a picture of a disgruntled man even during the first pay cut proposal after he had felt the club bosses were “placing extra pressure” on them to take the deal.

"The time has come to announce that, aside from the reduction of 70% of our salary during the state of emergency, we will also make contributions so that the club's employees can collect 100 percent of their salaries while this situation lasts.

"Our desire has always been to take a pay cut because we understand perfectly that this is an exceptional situation,” Messi wrote as he appeared to take a shot aimed at Bartomeu and his staff.

The Argentine superstar likewise pointed out that players would “make contributions so that the club's employees can collect 100 percent of their salaries while this situation lasts.”

Interestingly, the rumored friction within the club came at the heels of the expiration of Messi’s exit clause in Barcelona.

La Liga is set to resume on June 11 as Barca is scheduled to face Mallorca on the 13th.

Lionel Messi almost scored a breathtaking goal but Barcelona were held to a frustrating draw by Slavia Prague
Lionel Messi AFP / LLUIS GENE