La Liga President Javier Tebas has warned Barcelona that it must cut wages to get under the league-imposed salary cap as the June 30 expiration date for superstar Lionel Messi's contract rapidly approaches.
"Barcelona have exceeded their wage cap," Tebas said, per Jose Luis Artus of El Mundo Deportivo (h/t ESPN's Sam Marsden and Moises Llorens). "I hope they can keep Messi, but to do so, they will have to make cuts elsewhere."
Barcelona President Joan Laporta told La Vanguardia that he's confident the team can sign Messi to a new deal.
"I would like Messi to tell us 'yes' as soon as possible," Laporta said (h/t Juan Jimenez of AS). "He would help us in every way."
However, Barcelona has to keep an eye out as negotiations with Messi occur. Marsden and Llorens gave some context on Barcelona's financial situation:
"Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Barca had the largest cap in Spain's top flight in 2019-20 at €671 million.
"However, La Liga's new limit for the 2020-21 season was €382.7m. The Catalan club were given some leeway in terms of reducing salaries, but it meant they were unable to register Memphis Depay despite agreeing on a fee with Lyon last September.
"La Liga could technically prevent them from registering Messi's new contract or inscribing new signings this summer if they don't adhere to certain financial regulations."
Messi has been associated with Barcelona since 2000. He made his first-team debut in 2004.
Messi has scored 672 goals in 778 appearances for Barcelona, which has won the UEFA Champions League four times since 2005. The Argentina captain, who turns 34 on Thursday, has also scored 73 goals for his national team.
Barcelona came third in La Liga with 79 points this past season, the team's worst finish for 13 years. In the Champions League, the Blaugrana fell to Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16, its worst performance in the competition since 2006-07.