Barcelona’s eye-watering debt the same as when Lionel Messi left as La Liga champions remain €1.35 billion in the red

Lionel Messi Joan Laporta Barcelona splitGetty/GOAL
  • Argentine icon departed in 2021
  • Blaugrana funding stadium redevelopment
  • Owe a staggering amount in salary payments

WHAT HAPPENED? Joan Laporta returned to office as president of the Blaugrana in March 2021 and was charged with the task of restoring financial order at Camp Nou. Little progress has been made since then, with vice-president of economics, Eduard Romeu, discussing matters in a press conference attended by the likes of Cadena Cope. They have revealed that debts remain at €1.35bn, with that figure not taking into account the €1.5bn cost of the Espai Barca project that will be delivering major redevelopment of the club’s famous stadium.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Romeu claims that debts have been restructured over a 10-year period, with several economic levers being put in place. The Blaugrana also intend to carry on spending, as they are linked with a number of potential additions in the summer transfer window.

AND WHAT’S MORE: Barca’s salary limit has been reduced from €708m (£605m/$768m) to €528m (£451m/$573m), with €51m (£44m/$55m) relating to players that they intend to move on this summer – including Clement Lenglet, Samuel Umtiti, Alex Collado, Gustavo Maia and Sergino Dest. They also owe €389m (£332m/$422m) in deferred salaries and rising contracts, although deals put in place with the likes of Gavi and Ronald Araujo can be registered.

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joao laportaGetty ImagesBarcelona Spotify Camp Nou 2022-23Getty Images

WHAT NEXT? Romeu has refuted claims from Laporta’s former presidential rival Victor Font that the club are worse off than they were when bidding farewell to Messi – as they were unable to fund a new contract for the Argentine superstar – but there remains much work to be done. Barca TV is being disbanded but the club’s women’s team – who are the only entity not to be generating losses – will not face cuts, with Romeu saying: “You have to be sustainable, we will maintain competitiveness. It will not have cuts, but we cannot go crazy either.”