The monster is at Barcelona’s door. Their answer? Bring back Lionel Messi!


The club are seeking a further €1.5billion to rebuild Camp Nou, a plan that is currently inspiring so much faith within the club that the man in charge of “Espai Barca” resigned in January. No doubt Goldman were curious to know whether a ban from Uefa competition might impact on revenues.

Meanwhile, Barcelona will have to pay around €20million to get the old Olympic Stadium in Montjuic up to speed. The clock is ticking. One such option is borrowing some of the money for Espai Barca – around €500million – to begin the work although one hardly needs to be a HS2 expert to recognise that half-completed capital projects seeking finance are at the mercy of lenders.

If the Espai Barca project is pursued what might the debt be? How long before it might even exceed the value of the club itself? Of course, Barcelona are owned by their members but what exactly they own and how much that entity owes makes that academic these days. In any other industry, the lenders would have called it a day long ago and the whole regrettable enterprise would have been quietly wound up.

But this is Spanish football and Barcelona stumble on, sustained by massive debt, fearful creditors, big talk, short-term leadership and Messi comeback vibes.

Club would burn last stick of furniture to win trophy

We have not even reached their continuing participation in the rebel European Super League (ESL) project. A curious side-hustle for a club who sold a vast amount of future revenues last summer solely to get back into the Uefa Champions League, a competition that they also seek to destroy. The football under Xavi has been painful to watch at times but there is still a domestic treble on the cards with the Super Cup already in the bag. One suspects the club would burn their last stick of furniture to win a trophy, or re-sign Messi.

Even Real Madrid, who have forged an unlikely alliance with Barcelona in recent years over the ESL have been obliged to register their disapproval over the Negreira scandal. That has not prevented Florentino Perez’s friends at Key Capital Partners offering a potential solution for Barcelona’s problematic finances. It shares a base in Madrid with A22 Sports who are Perez’s chief advisors on the ESL.

As for Joan Laporta, the Barcelona president in his second spell in office, he has turned down the suggestion by his predecessor Josep Maria Bartomeu of a public debate including two other former incumbents, Joan Gaspart and Sandro Rosell. The function of which would be to argue over who was to blame for this royal mess. It promised to be very entertaining but really the only question that matters for Barcelona now is the price of servicing their current debt and how long they can keep the monster from the door.

It goes deeper – to the financial probity of a great club, not to mention their moral sense of doing the right thing for football. These are difficult to answer. Or at least much more difficult than deploying the usual diversionary tactics. Vast complex financial problems? Bring back Messi!