There are two intangibles that explain the reputation of the FC Barcelona brand and its ability to compete with that of Real Madrid: being more than a club, a condition that was accredited in 2006 for associating with Unicef, and having a unique style of play, expressed in the 2011 Ballon d’Or when the podium was shared by Messi, Iniesta and Xavi. Both are now a reason for discussion because the football of the indisputable leader of the League does not quite respond to the Barcelona ideology and the values of the entity are compromised by the Negreira case: the black never mixed well with the azulgrana in the history of Barça.
The burden of the recent past has exploded after the management of the club and that of the team have been entrusted to two figures from the golden age willing to recover the emblematic currencies: the coach Xavi Hernández and the president Joan Laporta, who is no stranger to arbitration scandal investigated (2001-2018). The challenge is to achieve it again after the successes achieved together and separately from 2003 to 2015. The symbolic charge has been decisive in capitalizing on a club with five Champions Leagues compared to Madrid’s 14. The white story is more tangible than the Barcelona one if the trophies of the Bernabéu and the Camp Nou are counted.
An accredited mediator Brand Finance Football 50 2022 concluded that Madrid is the strongest and most valuable brand in football with 1,500 million compared to the more than 1,300 million of Manchester City and Barcelona, which went to third place after its progression has been inferior to that of the English club , especially since 2015. The string of European defeats began after the 2015 Berlin Champions League, the economic fall was worsened by covid-19 and the prosecution of Barcelona ended up staining the Camp Nou.
Neymar’s contract led to the club’s conviction for tax fraud in 2016, the case is still ongoing barçagate that uncovered in 2020 the defamatory plot hatched on social networks by the board of Josep Maria Bartomeu and has just begun the Negreira case. The entity has not been immune to sports sanctions such as the one imposed by FIFA in 2015 for irregularities in the hiring of minors under 18 years of age, known as the Farmhouse case. Many clumsiness that leave a trace and are the worst flaw for the corpus of identity that has endorsed the fame of a club today threatened with bankruptcy and that has mortgaged its assets —close to 800 million— to face transfers worth more than 200 million as Lewandowski’s.
The leverage effect made it possible to reduce the debt from 1,300 million to 900 million in December while the wage bill has once again reached 650 million. Barça not only cannot hire players but has denounced the League because it prevents registering professional contracts such as Gavi’s – he plays with a precautionary measure – or normalizing those of Araujo and Balde. The room for maneuver of the Laporta board is minimal due to the inheritance of the mandate of Josep Maria Bartomeu. The government action of the board, however, does not favor recovery either because it operates as a family business and has moved away from professionalism since the departure of CEO Ferran Reverter.
An operating deficit of almost 200 million complicates the financing of Espai Barça, valued at 1,500 million, even more. Laporta’s council has set a deadline of the 31st after awarding the works to the Turkish company Limak in a decision that affected the positions of responsibility of the club linked to the project -the manager Jordi Llauradó stepped aside- and has caused a confusion similar to that of the departure of Leo Messi to PSG. The Argentinian metabolized the team’s style and boosted the club’s ability to capture revolutionary football players like Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Kubala, Maradona and above all Cruyff.
The most emblematic footballers today are the youngsters Pedri, Gavi and Araujo and the veteran Lewandowski, as well as the goalkeeper Ter Stegen. The economic limitations and the disorientation experienced in recent years at La Masia have conditioned Barça’s game. The guarantee of style is not on the pitch but on the bench: “If someone represents Barça’s DNA, it’s me”, Xavi stated, hurt by the criticism received by those who understand that his team is moving away from the style that has distinguished the club so much. Barcelona. “The worst days of my life have been as Barça coach,” he added. “You have to take into account where we come from,” insisted Ronald Koeman’s substitute.
Xavi tries to rebuild the team and recover the style in the same way that Laporta tries to recover the attributes of the club at a time of maximum pressure and also attention in Europe. Barcelona defends itself with first place in the League table and an average of 80,000 spectators who attend the Camp Nou. Vice President Juli Guiu announced in Rac 1 that in June there will be a record number of income in ticketing, sponsorships and visits to the Barça Museum. The team, eliminated from Europe, needs titles to sustain the club and mitigate the effects of the transfer to Montjuïc for a year due to the renovation of the Camp Nou.
The end justifies the means, just as circumstances invite blaugrana people to be understanding with Barça football, so that the how has come to be commonly accepted after in good times it caused the goodbye of coaches like Tata Martino and even Ernesto Valverde. There is no longer controversy over possession of the ball and 1-0 is accepted. Xavi has had to renew the leadership after the departure of Messi and Piqué and from misery to remember the football solfeggio devised by Cruyff, the father of modern football, the same one who knew how to interpret and crown the game that has occupied so many thinkers From Barcelona.
The obsession with a way of playing began with the founder Joan Gamper and his love for Central European technical teams; he continued with the talent scouts Pepe Samitier, Ramon Llorens and Josep Boter; he peaked with Laureano Ruiz and Rinus Michels; he conquered the world with Cruyff and tried to perpetuate it with Paco Sehirul.lo’s area of methodology. The druid Sehirul.lo is no longer at the Camp Nou and the team does not need to play well to win while the institution does not always act like more than a club Rather, there is even controversy over the ownership model of the partners, which is threatened according to Laporta.
The president maintains that there is a campaign to suffocate Barça until turning it into a sports limited company. The instigator would be Javier Tebas, the president of the League, the body with which the Barça entity has been fighting since it refused to sign the agreement with the CVC investment fund and allied itself with Madrid in favor of the Super League. There are no public reproaches to Laporta’s management. There is no opposition, there is no environment, there is no civil society that is interested in Barça. The question is Laporta or Laporta.
The challenge is unique when the club, founded in 1899, is on its way to its 125th anniversary, an event that invites us to reflect on the nature of the institution —Catalan and Catalanist; with a vocation for integration and social cohesion and definitely politicized since the closure of Les Corts in 1925— and about the team’s football after statements such as Lewandowski’s: “The Barça game of 10 years ago might not work today”. The commissioner is David Carabén and his reflections help to guess the program: “Being more than a club it is a will and a commitment; play as we would like, a purpose. It is pride, not superiority, ”he wrote in The vanguard.
Although there are stories so assumed that they are engraved in the collective imagination, reality demands knowing Barça’s version of the Negreira case. An essential part of his story is explained by the arbitrations, to the point that black —as well as white— were antagonistic to Barça’s Barça colors. He will not have enough passion and feeling to come up with a stain remover that will save the club, the team and the FC Barcelona brand.
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