Lionel Messi’s long-term future at Barcelona is back in the spotlight after the club’s director Oscar Grau suggested they will not break the bank and cave into the superstar’s wage demands.
Luis Suarez and Neymar have signed new deals at Barcelona worth around £21m-a-year (US$125,6m) but it is speculated that Messi wants to become the highest paid player at the Nou Camp.
Messi has 18 months left to run on his existing deal and talks regarding a new improved contract remain ongoing.
The deals to secure the futures of Suarez and Neymar have stretched Barca’s budget and they are edging closer to the 70% limit that La Liga place on club’s wage costs.
Barcelona have the second largest wage bill in the world behind Manchester United and Grau has indicated that they will have to play hardball over negotiations with Messi.
He said: “We have to be very strict with the budgets, we can’t go crazy.
“We need to comply with the ratios of debt and the percentage of salaries in the budget.”
Grau, however, did go on to add that: “I want the best player in history to remain here.”
The Barca director also appeared to contradict himself when he went on to say: “We will find the way, I am sure, but we have to make the numbers add up.
“The club wants the best player in the world to stay at Barca. I would like to ease the concerns of club members and supporters but we have to use common sense.”
The 29-year-old, who has scored 26 goals in 23 appearances in all competitions this season, reportedly earns about £19m (US$23,2million) a year currently.