BARCELONA’S interim president has hailed the players for ‘saving their season’ after agreeing a wage deferral – but admitted his regret at not selling Lionel Messi last summer.
And Carles Tusquets also revealed the only chance of Neymar coming back to the Nou Camp is if it is on a free due to their financial state.
The Barca players have agreed to defer a significant amount of their wages this season to save the club up to £155m next month.
The La Liga giants have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic financially while having their salary cap reduced by almost £270m this season.
Tusquets said: “The agreement we currently have allows us to finish the season without cash flow problems. This season is saved.”
Barca were forced to cut costs, which led to the sales of Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal.
They were also rocked by Messi, who earns around £54m-a-year basic wage, handing in a transfer request.
Manchester City were desperate to sign the 33-year-old Argentine, who believed he could leave due to a clause in his contract.
He eventually performed a U-turn after La Liga backed Barcelona in the transfer row, but with his deal up in June, he now looks set to leave for nothing at the end of the campaign.
And Tusquets admitted if he was in charge, he would have agreed to flog the legendary frontman as it made financial sense.
He told RAC1: “From an economic point of view, I would have sold Messi in the summer.
“It would have been desirable for the money we would have received, and for what we would have saved.”
Neymar has been linked with a return to Barcelona and has said he ‘has to’ play with Messi again.
But the prospect of the Catalans signing the Brazilian next year have been dashed as Tusquets said they can only get him ‘if he comes for free, unless the next president brings a miracle’.
The interim chief also explained how the club will recover financially once they restore and repair their stadium.
He revealed: “There is a part of the Camp Nou structure that is falling. Pieces of the ceiling have fallen from the roof at some gate to the stadium.
“The economic situation is worrying. Terrible but hopeful.
“When the stadium opens we will enter 220 million without doing anything, 320 million thanks to sponsors.
“Meanwhile the expense meter does not stop. The situation is horrible, but as soon as we open the recovery stadium.”
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