‘Barca will struggle to keep stars’

Barcelona Vice-President Javier Faust has admitted the club may find it difficult to keep its top stars like Lionel Messi from leaving.

Spanish tax laws, the Financial Fair Play rules and the fact the Catalans do not possess a billionaire owner make it hard for Barca to pay the top wages demanded by the world’s best players.

Faust believes the situation could make it a challenge to hang on to the likes of Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, although he feels it is something the Blaugrana can overcome.

“Right now we are no longer able to pay the best wages as teams such as Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain do that,” he told German newspaper Handelsblatt.

“You must understand that players always compare their net salary, and what we pay them here in Spain has the highest tax burden in Europe. The rate is 56 per cent in Barcelona while in Madrid it is 52 per cent.

“A player will always compare himself to the Premier League or Bundesliga on a net basis and this has driven our costs extremely high.

“As a result we need to increase our salaries greatly to remain competitive. So yes, we could lose players just because of the money.

“It’s challenging but we’ll keep them [Messi, Neymar and Suarez], although we’ll have to adapt to the new market circumstances at PSG and Chelsea and not just stand by.

“Footballers have a very short career and it’s their right to get what other clubs may be willing to pay them.

“We can’t just tell them to stay here for half the salary,” explained Faust.

Tags Faust Messi Neymar Suarez