Barcelona players have lent the club more than 500 million euros
Populist leaders love to bluff. Their most popular tactic is when there is a severe crisis. Often, a failure in the economy is unsuccessfully covered, spending foreign exchange reserves, creating the appearance of “stability. Everything, they say, is under control, going according to plan, there is no abyss ahead. Laporta, judging by his actions, is a classic populist. He sells the rights and assets of Barcelona, the equivalent of the country’s reserves. All sorts of populist stunts have become abundant, to give you examples.
“Bringing back” Messi. Lionel ignored the question of his return. Messi has a year on his contract with PSG with the right to extend, and Laporta talks about a “moral debt” to the legend. At the same time, Messi’s entourage denies talks with Laporta. It seems that Lionel’s personal fans are being brainwashed by distracting Messi’s theme from Barcelona’s real problems.
They are ashamed of the expense. Is the truth inconvenient, then, not important? They asked not to publish the real amount of Lewandowski’s transfer. There is a big commission to Zakhavi’s agent and other obligations. Getting away from specifics by talking about rookie sign-ups. Laporta has come up with a scheme – he sells the club’s television rights and shares in promising divisions of the corporation. How safe are these transactions strategically? No one knows yet.
“Love” Dani Alves. They kicked him out, and yesterday they gave him a big send-off. They threw him in the air, hugged him, and gave him a T-shirt with an award on it. Classic populist trick. First you do something stupid, then after the criticism you change your behavior abruptly. Something similar will be seen when they change the Fan ID. How much sincerity was there in Laporta and Alves’ embrace if Dani harshly criticized Joan for his complete lack of respect?
Feeding promises. With populists, what is said is often the opposite of what is done. When Laporta says that the club “does not use extortion methods,” he forgets to clarify – long ago they hired a special company, which for years has painted schemes to convince players to refuse money. Later they promise to give it all back, but Pique has already faced non-compliance. And de Jong was offered to take seven instead of 14 million euros.
Not given players more than half a billion euros
Three years to wait for what was promised? Messi is owed more than 50 million euros by Barcelona, Pique more than 30 million, and de Jong will be owed more than twenty if he stays. Franky has been noticeably underpaid for two years. Busquets and Alba constantly agree to new deferrals of payments. And then see the club buy Ferran Torres on the bench for 55 million euros. Laporta plays with fire, the offended millionaires will not die on the field. And will go to court.
“Barcelona is in for a collapse if there are no geniuses of soccer economics inside the club. Bartomeu has made mediocre decisions, and you see the result. He was throwing other people’s money around. But Laporta has switched to peddling promises. Not the best method of dealing with a crisis. The club year after year asks the players to give up some of their salaries and bonuses. Joan gives his word that he will pay them all when the future is bright.
Will it really come? Xavi has an interesting composition of the team, causes sympathy, can play beautifully. But behind the bright facade sits Laporta, who has risked everything. It’s no coincidence that soccer people wonder how an office in debt has signed so many newcomers. “Barcelona” went against the laws of economic nature, and such attempts are always a symbol of either desperation or deception.
Actively investing in expensive newcomers
As if Laporta’s “leverage” wasn’t analogous to the actions of governments before default. Barcelona’s new management is actively trading on the club’s name and reputation, hoping to avoid bankruptcy if Xavi’s team wins the field and makes a lot of money. Although it is obvious that in the slow Renaissance mode, they could have gradually given away debts and only then recruited a star-studded squad.
Instead, they chose the path of ardent populism, not supported by real revenues. Laporta claimed that Barcelona made 868 million euros in two months. No club in the world finds almost a billion in two months. If the players had financial advisors instead of agents and relatives without education and experience in investments, they would have been offered to run away.
Laporta is flirting. Financial experts have long expressed misgivings. They do not want Barcelona to turn out to be the soccer Venezuela, where they promised a bright future in a country with oil, but led to famine, total deficit, cosmic inflation, poverty and dictatorship. The poor are there, but the rich are also crying. A year ago Laporta was more restrained, but now he speaks in slogans.
Economists doubt the pyramid will hold
Laporta himself compared Barcelona to an inverted pyramid, but he did not put it right. How long will they be able to balance on top? If the club goes bankrupt, Messi and company will not see their millions and Barcelona will play in the Segunda. Many economists suggested slowly rolling back in the table, playing with a modest squad for a couple of years, and then gradually climbing up.
We chose the aggressive tactics. They signed Lewanowski, Kessier, Rafinha and Kunde, extended Dembele. Allegedly they will bring back Messi, but there are not good sales. Even though there are sponsors and people ready to take over Barcelona – the rights and property of the club are actively being bought out, professional economists doubt that Laporta understands what he is doing. João is first and foremost a politician.
Is this a bluff, counting on a miracle? Barcelona fans have become alarmed by the president’s bravado. His assessments used to be darker, but more realistic. He used to be more truthful about the legacy of Bartomeu. Now he exudes confidence, talking about winning the Champions League, but debts remain, and the players will come for what is due to them. It’s impossible to sell assets forever, because that’s lost profits in the future.
That’s a case where you want to be wrong. It would be great if the 60-year-old Laporta turned out to be a financial genius and not a rascal. Except that he has been guilty of gray schemes, and his personal fortune does not allow him to be called a successful capitalist. Joan has a big mouth, and he knows he can win elections with unsupported promises. But creditors will not take words instead of money.
There is no doubt that Alemany and Jordi Cruyff are doing everything to prevent the Catalans from going into bankruptcy proceedings. But the situation is dire, and the populist president has no opposition. Laporta’s potential rivals are sitting suspiciously quiet. Do they know anything? If Barcelona is sure to go bankrupt, and now a feast before the plague, they will hang everything on Bartomeu and João, that is why they are silent.
They are also quiet because there is a small chance that Xavi will win, investors will bail out the club (though they will take it for themselves in the end), and creditors and players will wait for the loan. No one wants to be known as the man who criticized a potential savior. The situation is twofold, reeking of the “Ryazan miracle. Economics is a science, and Laporta pretends to live outside its rules.