Barrios accuses Guangzhou Evergrande in contract row
Former Borussia Dortmund striker Lucas Barrios has accused Guangzhou Evergrande of failing to pay his full salary in the latest high-profile wage dispute involving a star foreign player in the Chinese Super League.
The Paraguay international is embroiled in a heated contract row with the super-rich club, drawing parallels with former Chelsea star Didier Drogba’s tumultuous exit from Shanghai Shenhua.
Barrios angered the league champions and current league leaders when he flew home for a match against Chile which took place in early June and did not return to China until last Friday.
The forward was recently linked with a move back to the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen.
Last month, media reports in Germany and Argentina suggesting Barrios had asked football governing body Fifa to terminate his contract as Evergrande had defaulted on payments drew a furious response from the club.
“It was utterly ridiculous. The club made every payment clear and on time,” a club official previously told state news agency Xinhua, adding that neither Barrios nor his agent had contacted the club during the player’s absence.
Evergrande, managed by former Italian World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi, have approached Fifa, demanding 25 million euros (HK$251million) in compensation, Xinhua said.
But the 28-year-old has vented his fury against the club in a strongly worded letter seen on his website on Wednesday.
He said he had suffered “financial loss” and accused the club of “depriving me of a substantial amount of the overall remuneration agreed upon in the contract”.
“I will continue my career at another club that is interested in my sports performance,” he added.
Evergrande, who could not be reached for comment, paid a reported US$11 million transfer fee last summer to sign Barrios. He has since scored five league goals.
Guangzhou Evergrande have poured millions into signing some of the biggest stars playing in Asia, including Argentine Dario Conca and Brazilians Elkeson and Muriqui. It has not previously faced allegations of wage defaults.
Chinese media reported last year that Drogba had asked Fifa to nullify his contract with Shenhua after the club reportedly defaulted on payments following a shareholder dispute.
Shanghai said the Ivory Coast international’s move to Turkish side Galatasaray in February was a breach of contract.