Barcelona are in Serious Trouble


Barcelona are in serious trouble on and off the pitch as their financial meltdown continues. The Catalan giants were once the envy of every club in world football, but less than a decade on from their last Champions League title, they’re a basket case of a business.

How did this happen, though? How could one of the biggest clubs in Europe go from untouchable to a laughing stock so quickly? And how bad is the situation right now? I’ll be covering that and more in this week’s Soccer Talk.

Barcelona are in Serious Trouble

It might seem a dramatic conclusion to come to, but FC Barcelona are in serious financial trouble. Despite winning the La Liga title last season, the Blaugrana look a million miles off challenging for major silverware again in 2023-24.

Barca have already been dumped out of the Copa del Rey by Athletic Bilbao and were humiliated in the Spanish Supercup final 4-1 by their great rivals Real Madrid. La Liga is also a pipe dream, currently sitting eight points behind Los Blancos and behind the high-flying Girona.

Europe is their only shot left, but even that is unlikely. Los Cules may have made it out of their Champions League group, but were far from convincing, losing to both Antwerp and Shakhtar Donetsk on the way.

Barcelona will probably make it to the quarter-finals, but they did receive a favourable Round of 16 draw against a Napoli side ninth in Serie A. Better sides will remain in the last eight, so this is looking like a trophyless season for Barca.

All this has culminated in a very uncertain future for Barca and the pressure has proven to be too much for club legend and manager Xavi Hernandez. Xavi will step down at the end of the season, despite extending his contract as recently as 2025.

Who will replace the former midfield maestro is anybody’s guess at this point, but it’s this shocking decision-making by the board that is why Barcelona are in this mess. And trust me when I say this is the tip of the iceberg.

Selling their soul and anything not nailed down

Times are tough for a lot of people right now and like many people, Barcelona’s financial issues can be traced back to the pandemic. Barcelona’s profit margins were tiny, as they ran on the absolute edge in terms of sustainable long-term profit.

This was fine when things were normal, but the 2019-20 season saw Barcelona play in front of an empty Camp Nou instead of packing almost 100,000 fans in there each week. That sent Barca over the edge and they needed to generate cash fast.

However, the best Barcelona could do was offload some of their senior players on free transfers. The following seasons would see Arturo Vidal, Luis Suarez and of course, Lionel Messi, all leave without bringing anything back in.

There was also the dodgy dealing of selling Arthur to Juventus for €72m, but that’s a story for another article.

Barcelona also needed to reduce their outgoings even further in 2022, so high-earning long-term players like Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets all took pay cuts. The sales even extended to their future TV rights and the naming rights to their iconic Camp Nou.

Real Madrid keep making strides

The timing of two announcements regarding the Spanish giants this last week has been incredible. News has broken that Real Madrid will finally sign Kylian Mbappe this summer with a reported €150m signing-on bonus part of the deal.

La Liga has also announced the spending caps for their clubs over the next year and Barcelona’s has been slashed. Barca’s previous budget given in September 2023 was €270m, but it has been cut to €204m. For reference, Real Madrid’s budget stands at €727m, almost four times as much.

If you thought the Premier League’s financial gulfs were huge, and they are, then you should take a trip down south to Spain to see some startling statistics.

Barcelona’s debts are so huge right now that they are unable to spend more than Atletico Madrid. Barca will need to further reduce their expenditure during a season where their matchday revenue has also been reduced thanks to the renovations at the Camp Nou.

Frankly, Barcelona will not be able to compete with Real Madrid in the coming seasons. The future is very bright for Los Blancos, who are playing in a state-of-the-art Santiago Bernabeu, thanks to a €1 billion restoration and upgrade.

The future is bright on the pitch for Real Madrid too, with Jude Bellingham, Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Aurélien Tchouaméni and Federico Valverde all to be joined by Mbappe from next season.

It’s not all bad news…

Something that cannot be overstated in all of this is that Barcelona will survive. Barca aren’t doomed like Everton are, they won’t fall into the Segunda Division and go out of business. They’re also extremely unlikely to struggle to the same level that Valencia have, thanks to their huge global fanbase.

Barca may not be able to compete with the two Madrid giants financially, but they’re miles above all of the other clubs in the league. Finishing outside the top four is very unlikely and not qualifying for Europe is unthinkable.

La Masia is the best youth academy in the world and there are some superstars in the making already in the Barca line-up. Pedri, Lamine Yamal and Gavi are all world-beaters in the making and will be the bedrock of this side for the next 15 years if they stay loyal to the Catalans.

Barca will also be able to attract quality senior players to their ranks as well. There will always be players that have been successful in other countries eager to challenge themselves in Spain such as Ilkay Gundogan, Joao Cancelo and the evergreen Robert Lewandowski.

Barcelona always finds a way. Defiance is part of the spirit of the city and the football club that represents it, but it is a long and arduous road back to the top table of European football for the club that is more than a club.

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