From riches to rags- A sad tale of Barcelona’s descent ⚽

by Sreetama

Well, well well…there could be no worse time than now to be a cule 😔

Football Club Barcelona, a club that not just ruled the Spanish league but the entirety of European club football is probably going through one of its worst phases.

With Messi leaving  (brb…going to grab my tissues)😢 and the club being submerged in staggering debts, nothing seems to be going right for FC Barcelona

So what went wrong? How did the mighty Spanish giants go from being one of the richest and most successful clubs to being in such financial throes? Let’s kick-off⚽

From riches to rags- A sad tale of Barcelona’s descent ⚽

The Golden years of the giant

Any football buff would know that the period of 2008-2015 was one of the best periods for the club. The club truly scaled its peak under their then-coach Pep Guardiola. Under him the club had won 14 trophies, that’s right 14 trophies which includes two Champions League.🏆

What made Guardiola’s Barcelona stand out from its competitors was the fact that the team was almost homegrown. He nurtured the talents that came from La-Masia -Barcelona’s youth training academy. Not to mention, this bore well for Barcelona financially too. Not buying footballers=Not having to pay transfer fees, easy maths eh😉

Even when Guardiola left in 2012, the club managed to keep up the momentum by signing players like Neymar and Suarez. The iconic Messi-Xavi-Iniesta trio was replaced by Messi-Neymar-Suarez or the MSN as they are lovingly called. They kept scoring goals, winning hearts, lifting trophies & making profits.

Take a look at Barca’s finances in 2014. They had a net worth of nearly $3.16 billion while their revenue was around $657 million, making them one of the most lucrative football clubs in the world

Figures are approximate

The descent begins

As many cules would agree, Barcelona’s descent started with Josep Maria Bartomeu taking over as the club’s president. Bartomeu wasn’t very conversant either with football or with the football business. Under him, Barcelona’s transfer strategy became Messi  (okay no more Messi puns, we know it hurts)

Barcelona let go of Neymar in 2017, and let’s be honest that was the beginning of the end. Barcelona made a whopping €220m by selling Neymar. Now one would have expected Bartomeu to get a player for Barcelona of similar calibre with that money.

Well, he kind of decided otherwise. Barca had the opportunity to sign both Mbappé and Haaland. But Bartomeu decided to sign Dembele, going over & above the budget set for him

Six months later, they signed Coutinho for €160m and truth be told neither of them excelled at Barca.

Barca’s tale of overpaying continued with them paying  €75m for Frenkie de Jong and €120m for Antonia Griezman. It’s not really rocket science to see where Barca’s money went💸 

Then of course they had to bear the cost of affording the World’s Greatest Footballer, Lionel Messi whose earnings kept increasing year after year. All these factors left Barcelona’s pocket quite dry as the new decade approached, but the worst was yet to come

Cut to 2021📅

Messi leaving Barcelona is probably one of the club’s lowest moments. He had agreed to take a 50% pay cut to stay at Barcelona, but unfortunately, even that breached LaLiga’s Financial Fair Play regulations. Alexa play Its been a long day without you my friend

The Finances of the club look gleam. It currently has a debt of nearly €1.35 bn. It has a negative net worth of 451 million. The Covid cost the club nearly €407m and post Messi’s exit the club is also witnessing a huge slump in merchandise and ticket sales.

Figures are approximate

But Barca fans know better than to lose hope. They have stood by their club through thick and thin.  They know that this too shall pass and the Blaugrana will rise again. Till then – Forca Barca 💗 

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