Josep Maria Bartomeu to make demand to Lionel Messi in crunch face-to-face talks

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is set to make a demand of Lionel Messi are the pair come face-to-face for the first time since Messi tried to leave the club.

The Argentine has committed his future to the La Liga side after shocking the footballing world with a burofax expressing his desire to leave the club.

An explosive interview saw him lash out at the Nou Camp president over his management of talks about the 31-year-old’s future.

But Spanish outlet Deportes Cuatro have reported that the Barca captain will be asked to make a big sacrifice.

Messi will be asked by the club president to take a salary cut, leading the players in this action as club captain.

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This is down to the impact of Covid-19 on the La Liga giants’ accounts, reporting losses of €98m [£90.4m].

While €72m [£66.4m] was recovered in the sale of Arthur Melo to Juventus, Barca still need to lower their weekly wage packet and will ask the forward to lead his side in taking a pay cut.

But there will be tension between Messi and the boss as it is the first face-to-face meeting between them since the forward’s transfer drama this summer.

The Argentine will now play in his 17th senior campaign for Barca, looking to win the club’s first Champions League honour in five years – just weeks after their humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich.

It comes as Messi explained that his desire to leave the Nou Camp started long before the European defeat.

He told Goal : "I told the club, especially the president, that I wanted to go. I've been telling him all year. He believed it was time to step aside.

"I believed that the club needed more young people, new people and I thought my time in Barcelona was over, feeling it a lot because I always said that I wanted to finish my career here.

"It was a very difficult year, I suffered a lot in training, in games and in the dressing room. Everything became very difficult for me and there came a time when I considered looking for new goals, new airs.

"It did not come because of the Champions League result against Bayern, the decision I had been thinking about for a long time. I told the president and well, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay and in the end he did not end up keeping his word.

"Now I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the 700 million clause, that that is impossible, and then there was another way it was to go to trial.

"I would never go to trial against Barça because it is the club that I love, that gave me everything since I arrived, it is the club of my life, I have made my life here."

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