It has not been a good couple of weeks to be a Barcelona fan.
They unexpectedly had to say goodbye to their beloved superstar Lionel Messi and now must face up to the monumental financial mountain the club must climb.
Messi’s jarring departure came as a direct result of that financial mismanagement, with Barcelona denied permission to register Messi despite his willingness to take a significant pay cut.
In fact, some of the club’s other new signing were only legally registered once defensive stalwart Gerard Pique agreed to take a massive slice out of his own wage.
While those short term measures may paper over the gaping cracks and allow Barca to field a team this season, the long term future of the club looks rather ominous.
Storm clouds are brewing on the fiscal horizon with the newly appointed board and president desperately scrambling for solutions.
However, there looks as though there is no quick fix, with club president Joan Laporta today outlining just how dire the outlook in the books is – a situation Laporta himself has described as ‘very worrying’.
“As of March 21, 2021, the debt was €1.35bn,” Laporta said in a news conference on Monday.
“[Josep] Bartomeu was plugging holes in the short term and mortgaging the club in the long term. That leaves us a dramatic inheritance.
“To the initial debt of €617m you have to add €389m on players, €90m in litigation, €79m in advance television rights and €56m from the ‘Espai Barca’ project. In total, it’s €1.35bn.”
“Our salaries represent 103 per cent of the club’s total income. That’s 20-25 per cent more than our competitors.
“The first thing we had to do when we arrived was to ask for a loan of €80m because otherwise, we could not pay the salaries. The previous regime was full of lies.”
The ‘lying’ regime Laporta is referring to, is that led by former president, Josep Bartomeu, who ruled the roost at the Camp Nou for six years.
He was behind some of the most eye-catching signings on the European landscape over the last decade but it seems that his long term eyes were welded firmly shut.
For one of the biggest clubs on the planet, the magnitude of the debt they have managed to rack up truly is alarming.
Now, Laporta has been left with an utter shambles to mop up and it is going to take some serious elbow grease to get the club back on track.