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Koeman: We have all helped Barcelona with the pay cut

Ronald Koeman faced the media ahead of Barcelona's Copa del Rey last-16 tie against Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday night, yet he was forced to respond to questions about the club's dire financial state.

Reports emerged on Monday that Barcelona's total debt is 1.173 billion euros, with a short-term debt of 730 million euros, and the Barcelona coach recognised that these are tough times for the club.

"Teams are suffering financially because of COVID," Koeman said during Tuesday's pre-match press conference.

"Barcelona are also suffering from the lack of tourism. All clubs can have pretty bad numbers [financially] right now. Not only here.

"I haven't seen the players affected too much by this issue. We have all helped the club with the pay cut."

There have been reports that the Barcelona squad's pay has not been on time, but Koeman was unaware of this.

"I don't know if this is true. I'll have to ask," he confirmed.

"Until then, I can't answer this kind of question."

Barcelona are able to welcome back Lionel Messi after his two-game ban, and although it is unclear if he will start against Rayo at Vallecas, the Dutch coach is clearly happy to have him back.

"I don't think he's out for revenge or anything like that because of the suspension," Koeman noted.

"Messi is a key player for many reasons. I hope we win games because of his quality."

Ronald Araujo has been one of Barcelona's standout players in recent months, and Koeman acknowledged that this match may be a good time for him to rest.

"It's true that because of some injuries we have been limited [in terms of options] with our centre-backs," he said.

"He has shown that we can be comfortable with him as a centre-back.

"If we think he needs to rest, he will. We'll use those who are okay. We won't take risks with people who aren't at 100 percent."

Both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have already been knocked out of the Copa del Rey, so this is a great opportunity for Barcelona to lift some silverware.

"It's not because Madrid and Atleti are not here," Koeman stated.

"There are strong teams [still in the competition]. It can be an advantage for them, [as they] can concentrate only on LaLiga.

"I prefer to play every three days, because it means you are in all three competitions."

Source: Marca / Ramiro Aldunate

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