Barcelona have rejected an “erroneous” report that revealed the salaries of Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique.
Catalan television presenter Lluis Canut said on TV3 Pique is the club’s top earner with yearly earnings of €30m (£25m), while Alba is on €23m (£19m) and Busquets on €20m (£16.7m).
The trio all took wage cuts at the start of the season to help Barca deal with their financial difficulties but Canut claimed these were deferrals and not reductions.
On Friday, Pique published a screenshot of his online banking on social media, appearing to claim that 50 per cent of his annual earnings amount to €2.3m (£1.9m).
Alongside the screenshot, he tweeted: “People like this are paid by public television to defend their friends. Here you have 50% of my salary as of 30 December. Respect yourself a little.”
Barcelona condemned the comments from Canut as “improper” and “unprofessional” and said the three players did indeed waive a portion of their salaries before the start of the season.
The club said in a statement: “In relation to the statements made by Mr. Lluís Canut yesterday on the TV3 programme ‘Onze’, FC Barcelona wishes to clarify the following:
“The information on the salaries of certain first team players has not, in any case, been provided by the club and its origin is unknown.
“In any case, the amounts referred to in the information are erroneous, do not correspond to reality and, furthermore, in the case of the first three players referred to, it gives fixed amounts which, being variable, will possibly never be merited.
“It is false that the players mentioned have only deferred 100% of their salary. Mr. Piqué, Mr. Busquets and Mr. Alba waived part of their salary when they signed their last contract renewal last summer.
“We consider it improper, unprofessional and acting in bad faith when this information is offered as true and truthful and regret that information of this type is provided which affects the personal rights of the players and which deserves, when true, the highest confidentiality.”
Meanwhile, Philippe Coutinho has gone on loan to Aston Villa for the remainder of the season as Barca look to trim their wage bill.
Ferran Torres has joined Barca for £46.3m but the club are currently unable to register the Spain forward because of their La Liga-imposed spending cap.
Speculation around Erling Haaland’s future is intensifying with Barcelona now said to be front-runners for his signature but how has the Borussia Dortmund striker been performing this season? And how could Barcelona afford him?
Haaland has been linked with a host of top European clubs in recent years, including Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United, but reports in Spain say his agent, Mino Raiola, has informed Barcelona president Joan Laporta of the 21-year-old’s desire to make the Catalan giants his next club.
Dortmund maintain he is going nowhere in January but even he does stay beyond the end of the month, Raiola has already said publicly there is a “big chance” he will move in the summer, when a £64m release clause in his contract reportedly comes into effect.
With 76 goals in 74 appearances for Dortmund since his move from Red Bull Salzburg in December 2019, it’s little wonder Haaland is in demand.