Barcelona used to have a clean cut image worldwide however that has changed to many controversial incidents in the past few years.

Before 2013 Barcelona were a club who were morally superior to their rivals, who turned down big corporate deals to emblazon Unicef's logo across their shirts while entertaining the world with an attacking style of play led by Lionel Messi and his fellow academy graduates.

However in March 2013 Barcelona confirmed that their shirt would carry a commercial logo for the first time in the club's history, following an agreement with Qatar Airways, worth at least £25m per year. Many fans felt the deal had come about by stealth following a two-year 'transitional' period when the shirts bore the logo of the Qatar Foundation charity.

A few months later Barcelona released Eric Abidal, a fan favourite, who had been recently won his battle with liver cancer. The Frenchman made it clear that it was not his choice to leave and is currently plying his trade in Monaco after six years with the Catalan club. Many fans felt the club had gone back on a pledge to keep the former France international and jeered Rosell during Abidal's farewell ceremony on the final day of the season.

Then in June last year, Messi was accused by Spanish authorities of tax evasion. The Argentine star and his father Jorge were ordered to appear in court in the seaside town of Gava, just outside Barcelona, and they also made a payment of 5m euros (£4.14m) in back taxes which - for now - appears to have prevented further punishment.

However the biggest scandal was unleashed by last summer's signing of Brazilian starlet Neymar from Santos in a deal worth 57.1m euros(£47.3m) - or 86.1m euros (£71.3m), according to the tax authorities - who have argued that Barca deliberately under-declared the true value of the deal in an elaborate tax dodge.

And now on Wednesday they have been found guilty of breaking Fifa regulations on signing players under the age of 18 - hardly an ideal scenario for a club which prides itself upon its youth development system. As a result the Catalan club have been slapped with a 14 month transfer ban which will have huge ramifications for next season as this will scupper their plans to replace Victor Valdes and Carles Puyol.

Whilst Madridstas may blow the situation out of proportion, Barca’s fall from grace is extraordinary, in a mere 12 months they have gone from angels to devils in the eyes of many.

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Topics:
La Liga
Football
Barcelona