In Brief

Pep Guardiola and Lionel Messi each donate €1m for fight against coronavirus

Man City manager and the Barcelona captain help the relief efforts in Spain

A crisis like the coronavirus is nothing if not a test of a person’s character and Pep Guardiola has shown his mettle by donating €1m (£920,000) to help fight the pandemic in his homeland. 

Spain has been hit hardest of all European nations after Italy, with nearly 3,000 deaths and more than 42,000 cases.

The Manchester City manager has returned to his home in Barcelona to be close to his family, and according to BBC Sport Guardiola has been “working with his lawyers over the past few days to work out the best way of using the money”.

A decision has now been reached and the money will be donated to a campaign spearheaded by the Medical College of Barcelona and the Angel Soler Daniel Foundation.

Like every country badly affected by coronavirus, Spain desperately needs more medical equipment to deal with the growing number of people hospitalised with breathing difficulties. 

The BBC says that Guardiola’s donation will be used to purchase medical equipment and protective material for the hospital staff working on the frontline of the war with coronavirus.

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Lionel Messi is captain of Barcelona and the Argentine national team

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Magnificent Messi

Guardiola’s munificence has been matched by that of FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi. 

CBS reports that the Barca captain has also donated €1m which will be split between the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona and a medical facility in his hometown of Rosario, Argentina.

Although there have been fewer than 300 cases of coronavirus in Argentina so far, the country is in its third year of recession and there are concerns that if the pandemic takes hold it will struggle to respond.

It’s not the first time that Messi has acted in such a manner; in the past he helped fund a new cancer wing at the Sant Joan de Deu children’s hospital in Barcelona.

Barca stars to take a pay cut?

A study by France Football magazine has this week revealed that Messi is the world’s highest-paid player ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar. The publication reports that the Argentine will have a total annual income this year of €131m (£121m). 

However, with football suspended in Spain Messi and his team-mates could be hit hard in the pocket. 

Barcelona are “locked in talks” with senior players - including Messi - to try and reduce their wage bill because of the economic impact of the virus. 

According to reports the Catalan giants’s annual wage bill of £438m is the highest in Europe and Messi earns a staggering £1.15m a week. 

Spanish newspaper Marca said: “The Barcelona board are in discussions with the captains of the club over a possible reduction to the players’ salaries due to the economic impact of the coronavirus. 

“One of the measures that was discussed at a board meeting was the possibility of a wage cut until the end of the season. 

“The reaction from the players has been positive, but no agreement can currently be reached without knowing for how long official competitions will be suspended.”

Bayern Munich players celebrate their opening goal against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

German giants do their bit

In Germany Bayern Munich have followed the example of rivals Borussia Dortmund and “agreed to take a 20% pay cut while there is no football”. 

The Times reports that the Munich squad have accepted the measure in order to prevent the club laying off administrative staff. 

Bayern’s annual wage bill is “roughly £308m, so the gesture has saved the club tens of millions of pounds”, and the Times predicts it will increase the pressure on Premier League players to show similar altruism in the coming weeks as English clubs struggle financially.

Today’s back pages

Olympic flame will continue to burn in Tokyo, football’s transfer window of opportunity, Kane on the mend

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