Toni Freixa, who is running to replace Josep Maria Bartomeu as Barcelona president, has urged Lionel Messi to take a pay cut in order to stay at Camp Nou.

The Argentine attempted to end his 19-year association with the Catalans this summer after they were beaten 8-2 humiliatingly by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

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A legal row erupted, with Messi claiming that he had the automatic right to leave the club for free but Barca insisted a clause allowing him to do so had elapsed.

It is believed that Messi will be heartened by Bartomeu's departure from the club presidency, but Freixa believes that much more than his potential predecessor's exit will be required to keep him with the Spanish outfit.

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“With Leo we will speak calmly, face to face about what is best for Barca and of course for him,” Freixa explained on the show El Curubito, as quoted by Marca.

“Just as with all the players who have a renewal coming up, we will be making an offer but of course we will not be able to match the current conditions that he currently has.

“You do not have to convince Messi with false promises, you have to look him in the eye and talk, to know what he wants and what Barca wants. We think Messi still has a lot of football to play here.”

Barca have made a stuttering start to the 2020-21 season, losing two of their six games, including a 3-1 home Clasico reverse against Real Madrid. They sit 12th.

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