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The six-time Ballon d'Or winner was prepared to take a staggering 50 per cent pay cut in a new Barcelona deal to remain at the Camp Nou for the long term.
However, Barcelona were unable to ink a new deal with Messi due to "Spanish La Liga regulations on player registration."
During an emotional farewell press conference on Sunday, the 34-year-old Argentine forward admitted that he never asked for more money when signing a new contract.
"I offered to reduce my salary by 50 per cent, but they didn't ask me for anything else," he said.
"The news I asked for 30 per cent more is a lie, a lot of things people are saying are not true."
Now, The Daily Mirror's Colin Millar has dismissed fans' claims that Messi could have played for Barcelona for free if he 'loved the club so much.'
According to Millar, Spanish law requires any new contract to be a minimum of 50 per cent of a player's previous wage in a bid to "avoid financial manipulation."
It would have been legally impossible for Lionel Messi to play for free at Barcelona. Any new contract is, by Spanish law, required to be a minimum of 50 percent of previous wage (this is in place to avoid financial manipulation). https://t.co/annqTuQlCF
- Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) August 8, 2021
He tweeted: "It would have been legally impossible for Lionel Messi to play for free at Barcelona.
"Any new contract is, by Spanish law, required to be a minimum of 50 per cent of previous wage (this is in place to avoid financial manipulation)."
Barcelona's current debt reportedly stands at around a staggering £1bn (€1.2bn).
The Financial Times reports that Messi's wages tripled under former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and he earned more than €555m between 2017 and 2021.
Current Barcelona president Joan Laporta has also revealed that the Spanish club lost a whopping £412m (€487m) in the 2020-21 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Messi is now set to complete a sensational free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain after the French club reportedly made a formal two-year contract offer.
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