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Why have LaLiga prevented Barcelona from registering Gavi and Ronald Araújo as first-team players?

Gavi and Ronald Araújo have been key men for Barcelona this season but aren’t registered as first-team players with LaLiga.

Update:
Gavi and Ronald Araújo have been key men for Barcelona this season but aren’t registered as first-team players with LaLiga.
Juan Carlos CárdenasEFE

Gavi could be described as the ultimate midfield player, which you’ll be able to see for yourself in Barcelona’s Copa del Rey quarter-final against Real Sociedad on Wednesday. He has shown terrier-like tenacity from the moment he burst onto the scene at the age of 17, coupled with a huge amount of technical ability, which has always been present but has perhaps shone through even more of late now that he seems to have learned to control his aggression. The teenager has become a regular in the Spain midfield and started 18 matches for his club this season yet LaLiga still won’t let Barcelona register him as a first-team player

Gavi has become a key part of the Barcelona side despite his tender years.
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Gavi has become a key part of the Barcelona side despite his tender years. Enric FontcubertaEFE

Why can’t Barcelona register Gavi and Ronald Araújo as first-team players?

The 18-year-old signed a new contract with La Azulgrana in September which stipulated that he was a member of their first-team roster, which the club had hoped would be enough to meet the league’s registration criteria. However, new regulations mean that Barça have no financial margin to register any new players due to the fact that their wage bill far exceeds the salary cap that LaLiga have established. And that’s despite the sale of Memphis Depay to Atlético Madrid and Gerard Piqué's retirement in November.

What must Barcelona do to be able to register new players?

To put it simply, Barcelona must significantly reduce their wage bill between now and the start of July if they are to be able to register any new players – Gavi included – in time for the 2023-24 campaign. Defender Ronald Araújo, who has been in great form since returning from the World Cup, is in exactly the same boat.

Ronald Araújo has been in fine form for Barcelona since the World Cup break.
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Ronald Araújo has been in fine form for Barcelona since the World Cup break. Biel AliñoEFE

Can Gavi and Ronald Araújo still play for Barcelona?

The duo will, of course, still be able to play for the club but will do so as ‘B-team’ players. Barcelona had hoped to change Gavi’s squad number from 30 to 6 but players who are not registered on first-team contracts can’t wear below number 25. The teenager is still registered with LaLiga on his ‘old’ contract, which ended in 2024 rather than 2026 and has a significantly lower release clause on €50 million.

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