Laporta caught between Florentino and Tebas
Barça’s squad cost is 560 million euros, while that of Real Madrid is €400 million. To be clear, Barça’s 560m figure, came from a much higher value, since reduced by the departures of Messi, Griezmann and Suárez, which explains the magnitude of the hole, comparable only to Arizona’s Barringer Crater. It is the hangover from the Messi period, with his seven contract extensions and the profiteering attitude of those who most cultivated how he was treated, the captains, who boosted their own salaries by exploiting their status with him as the core group. Madrid’s highest salary (which, ironically, was Bale’s) was below seven of those at Barça. It wasn’t just Messi’s expensive golden comet, but also its glittering tail.
But I return to the current contrasting image, 560 million against 400 million. Laporta is pondering how best to get out of this financial mess, searching for revenue under every stone except that of Tebas-CVC, which is forbidden by Florentino Pérez, from whom he is taking the suitcase in payment for two important favours he has done him in exchange for his help in continuing to blow the embers of the failed European Super League. But it is curious, almost comical, that with one voice Barça is accusing Tebas of having been the cause of this ruin by looking the other way during Bartomeu’s spell, while with another is accusing him of the opposite regarding the involvement in his CVC operation.
Either way, the first thing to do is moderate spending, and that is not so easy. The captains agreed, at the very most, to postpone payments over time so that they could free up some money and make signings in January. Previously, Puyol waived his final year’s salary because he didn’t feel at the level to play; much further back in time, Sadurní, Rifé and Fusté made an offer to the club to lower their salaries in a period of trouble and what they earned then was relatively insignificant compared to what the players earn now. But they were made of different stuff. Today’s captains are not there for that. And then there are the players who add little to the squad but are on such high wages that other clubs are unable to take them... and they aren’t about to just pack their bags.