Barcelona’s loss to Man United, early exit from Europa League sees club’s financial plans brutally backfire
If there was an argument for Barcelona’s remarkable approach to its long-term financial security this summer – selling over €600m worth of assets to finance new contracts with the Xavi team – it existed in the European realm. Returning president Joan Laporta saw firsthand the “circle of virtue” where success on the pitch brought more interest and revenue, allowing the team to further strengthen itself and ultimately cement Barcelona at the top of European football.
Logically, take Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kundet, Rafinha and many others and you will have a team ready to compete with the best in Europe. Eyeballs and sponsors will follow, they may miss out on 25 percent of domestic TV revenue over the next 25 years, but if broadcast figures are going up anyway because Barcelona were a team to watch, then it was worth it . However, this will require a team that could at least be mentioned in the same spirit as their ancestors, perhaps not quite at the level of the Dream Team or the MSN top three in the form of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, but one it was at least still in the Champions League at the end of the tournament.
Instead, Barcelona retired from continental football along with Midtjylland, Salzburg and Nantes, being knocked out of the Europa League in the first round of the play-offs after Fred and Anthony hammered Xavi in the second half. Relegation from the Champions League in the group stage has already made a hole of 20 million euros in the club’s finances, now even in the second tier there is no way to close some of these gaps. The €158m spending was supposed to bring back the good times
camp Nou Spotify Camp Nou. Seems like a high price to pay for defeating Viktoria Pilsen twice.
Yet that doesn’t mean they spent all that money badly and they are nothing short of one of the best teams in Europe. Their form in La Liga shows just that: they have outpaced Real Madrid thanks to Marc-André ter Stegen’s exceptional goalkeeping skills and a front line that can win many games in third gear. More pity for Laporte, Xavi and this whole project, which Barcelona constantly crossed paths with some of the best clubs in Europe. In a couple of games against the favorite of the tournament, they gave Bayern Munich all sorts of difficulties before succumbing on the counterattack. One bad performance against Inter Milan created an uphill race, and yet they looked on edge at times. There, in addition to Robin Gosens, a serious contender for the Champions League came out in the 89th minute.
Home and away at Manchester United, another team that looks like they can influence tournaments better than in the Europa League, they almost overtook Erik ten Hag’s team. It took the Red Devils a very exceptional jump in performance to secure a second-half round of 16 pass, especially Fred offering a burst of energy that this team is simply not used to facing in La Liga. If Robert Lewandowski had taken his chance in the 89th minute as well as usual, if Anthony had taken his chance as unconvincingly as he sometimes does, then Barcelona could at least be the favorite to receive his consolation prize.
On the other hand, it was not news to Barcelona that they would be in the second pot when the draw was made on 25 August, the day they were still trying to make room on the paybook for Héctor Bellerin (now signed to Sporting CP). ) and Marcos Alonso (starter in 12 games and possibly their third left back). The previous season they drew with Bayern and another team worthy of Benfica’s last 16th place, a clash with which too early in the campaign killed their Champions League bid in 180 minutes.
Barcelona did not aim for glory in the league campaign, where 38 games is typically a sufficient sample size for results to be reflected in the results. They did so believing they would be immune to a range of fluctuations that make the Champions League and Europa League so exciting. It backfired in the most pathetic way imaginable.