Barcelona live in Never-Never-Land while financial chaos ruins the reputation of the once-proud club

IF BARCELONA played football the way they manage their financial affairs, they would soon be in Spain’s fourth division.

The glorious reputation of the club is in decline on the pitch and already destroyed off it.

Lewandowski joined Barca despite the club's financial situation

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Lewandowski joined Barca despite the club’s financial situationPhoto credit: Getty
Barca also splashed on Frenchman Jules Kounde

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Barca also splashed on Frenchman Jules KoundePhoto credit: Rex
Ex-Leeds ace Raphinha was another signing at the summer marquee

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Ex-Leeds ace Raphinha was another signing at the summer marqueePhoto credit: Rex

Visitor numbers at the Camp Nou are falling at an alarming rate, partly due to the loss of Lionel Messi and other stars but more to the behavior of its recent presidents who have seemingly been unable to run a tapas bar on Las Ramblas.

These are the fools who favored – and still favor – a European Super League, presumably because they think it would save them from themselves.

You can see why they seek salvation by the way they conduct their business at headquarters.

No fewer than four first-team players argue they are owed millions of pounds for agreeing to do the club a favor by postponing pay rises.

For a reason I’m beginning to lose, one of the foursome, Frenkie de Jong, is sticking with his job there rather than joining Manchester United.

I reckon he wants to backpay his £17m first.

Club president Joan Laporta appears to live in Never-Never Land, a wonderful country where his football team can owe well over £1billion with a net loss of almost half.

Imperfect circumstances for buying new players? Not for Laporta, who – take a deep breath here – has taken on Brazilian ace Raphinha from Leeds, Poland super-scorer Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich and French centre-back Jules Kounde from Sevilla this transfer window.

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Andreas Christensen (ex-Chelsea) and Franck Kessie (ex-AC Milan) were on free transfers, which doesn’t mean they were free.

This small haul totaled £117m in transfers and there are a couple of other likely takeovers as well.

The structure of the club looks like living democracy: supporters elect a president for five years, Laporta replaces his opponent Josep Bartomeu, who started the crazy deals in 2017.

However, theirs is not a democracy. She is much closer to former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos’ so-called “constitutional authoritarianism” – and not just because his wife Imelda collected expensive shoes like Barca’s bosses collected expensive players.

No player will ever fill in the boots left by Messi.

His departure and recent failure to win big as rivals Real Madrid trek to La Liga and European titles has now been reflected in attendance at the Nou Camp falling from over 70,000 to just 54,000 last season.

The pandemic didn’t help either.

A smell of panic hangs over the Nou Camp.

Laporta and manager Xavi are willing to pay disproportionate sums for the best players and are still beaten by Gulf nations Manchester City and PSG.

They also note that the Premier League is now the largest domestic competition in the world, capable of generating TV deals in excess of its leading continental rivals.

That’s why the two Spanish giants and Italy’s Juventus are thinking of the ESL.

Barcelona are looking for rescuers.

This amounts to big borrowing – £550m to restructure debt is a new loan – but rivals are becoming wary of transfer deals.

A former club CEO recently said they are “technically bankrupt”, while Bayern head coach Julian Nagelsmann said: “Barcelona, ​​the only club that don’t have any money, but then… buy any player they want. I do not know how. It’s kind of weird, kind of crazy.”

The fall has been attributed to Neymar’s £200m sale to PSG five years ago.

The money was gone in months and the madness didn’t stop.

Now the threat of financial fair play lurks in the darkness.

It’s almost certain they broke strict Uefa rules – but we’re all wondering if there will be consequences?

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5988331/barcelona-financial-mayhem-karren-brady-sports-column/ Barcelona live in Never-Never-Land while financial chaos ruins the reputation of the once-proud club

ClareFora

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