Umtiti takes salary cut, allows Barcelona to register Torres

Barcelona's Samuel Umtiti, left, battles Elche's Lucas Boye during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between Elche and Barcelona at the Manuel Martinez Valero stadium in Elche, Spain, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. (Alberto Saiz/AP Photo)

BARCELONA, Spain — Barcelona will register new signing Ferran Torres after defender Samuel Umtiti agreed to take a salary cut, the club said on Monday.

Torres was presented last week but hadn’t been added to the squad because Barcelona couldn’t make room for him without breaching the Spanish league’s strict financial fair play rules.

The Catalan club said it reached a deal with Umtiti to extend his contract until 2026, reducing part of the salary the French defender was due to receive in the year and a half remaining on his contract.

“Through this contract extension, Barcelona will be able to increase its `financial fair play’ quota and thus register Torres with the Spanish league,” the club said.

Barcelona paid an initial fee of 55 million euros ($62 million) to sign Torres from Manchester City. The 21-year-old Spain forward signed a five-year deal with the Spanish club with a buyout clause of 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion).

Team captains Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto had all taken salary cuts last year to help the financially troubled club. Lionel Messi agreed to a 50% salary reduction but it wasn’t enough for the club to be able to keep him, leading to his move to Paris Saint-Germain.

“Barcelona wishes to publicly express its gratitude to Samuel Umtiti for his willingness and the affection that he has demonstrated towards the club,” Barcelona said.

Torres hasn’t played since October because of a foot injury sustained on international duty with Spain.

He was among the Barcelona players who tested positive for the coronavirus recently but was cleared on Monday and will join the rest of the squad in Saudi Arabia for the Spanish Super Cup. The Catalan club plays Real Madrid in the semifinals on Wednesday.

Midfielder Pedri Gonzalez also tested negative on Monday and will travel to Saudi Arabia alongside Torres.

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