Jordi Alba denies accusations over role in Lionel Messi’s Barcelona exit –

Barcelona full-back Jordi Alba has rejected accusation that his refusal to accept a pay cut resulted in Lionel Messi’s exit in the club this summer.

The long-serving Barca defender is one of four club captains at the Camp Nou – Messi had been club captain with the left-back, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique among the dressing room leaders.

The well documented financial struggles at the Catalan giants had led to the club holding discussions with its most senior players to take a fresh pay cut in order to ease the fiscal concerns.

The decision of Pique to agree a pay cut on Saturday allowed the club to register new signings Eric Garcia and Memphis Depay for La Liga competition.

Jordi Alba and Lionel Messi were close teammates at Barcelona over nine seasons
Shaun Botterill)

This was too late for Messi, who has left the club after they were unable to register his new contract with the authorities in La Liga and their implementation of salary budgets.

There is still no agreement with other star players over a wage cut, including Spain international Jordi Alba – but he has rejected suggestions this played a part in Messi’s exit.

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After the opening league win over Real Sociedad on Sunday, the defender told reporters: “Apart from being the best ever, Leo was the one who understood me best, so imagine the efforts I would have made for him to stay.

“The pay cut talks leading to his exit? That is not true. The Messi stuff was separate from the captains, between the club and him.

“I cannot control everything that is said, but I have been around. Nothing will surprise me. If 10 out of 10 news articles about Jordi Alba are negative, it is normal that people think badly. I cannot stand being doubted.”

The 32-year-old went on to hit out at the ‘lies’ that had been reported about his contractual situation and claimed that Pique’s announcement was simply due to the timing of the talks.

The defender added: “”When the club talks with me, I am willing. I’m from here, spending my whole life in Barcelona. That my commitment is questioned hurts me a lot. As the president hasn’t spoken specifically about this yet, I suppose he will speak and he will tell the truth.”

“My lawyers have spoken to the club. Pique’s was concluded first simply because of the timing but the willingness of all the captains was always as it had to be.

“The lies annoy me, they tire me. I can put up with a lot, but I suffer for my family and the things they have to hear.”

Barca still must reduce their wage bill ahead of the new campaign with further exits from the first-team squad likely.

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