FC Barcelona, which was eliminated from the continental championships in February for the first time in the 21st century, loses access to the 15 million.
Manchester’s return from Barcelona’s expedition after falling in the round of 16 of the Europe League was smooth sailing. Far from the painful qualifiers of the past, when Rome (2018) and Liverpool (2019) signed two historic comebacks, 3-0 and 4-0 respectively, or when Bayern gave them an unprecedented victory in Lisbon 2020 (2-8). This time, after the fall at Old Trafford, the Blaugrana left Europe impeccable, with the exception of some fights between Lewandowski and Ansu Fati, after the young player Azulgrana hit the pole with a header, as reported by Diario AS. “We showed up”, justified Xavi. This is the first time in the new century that Barcelona have bid farewell to Europe in February and it has been eight seasons since they last won the Champions League in Berlin in 2015. team. Led by Luis Enrique from the bench.
“It’s a goal problem,” said one of the heavyweights in the locker room, when he was still in Manchester, with defeat in his mouth. “We’re missing a goal. If Lewy doesn’t score, nobody will score”, added the same source. Without naming names, with Dembélé in the infirmary, the Barca team realizes that Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres, and Raphinha cannot say a word at Old Trafford. “For this level, you are ready or not. With Pedri, Gavi, and Ousmane we would certainly have more attacking options”, he insisted. Barcelona finished six times (three on goal) and United 12 (five). He indicated “defense”. “we are strong”. But Barcelona hasn’t stopped conceding goals in any of their eight European matches in the 2022-2023 season (12 goals conceded in the Champions League and four in the Europa League). The numbers contrast with those accumulated in the league: seven goals conceded and 17 clean sheets.
“The team has improved compared to last season”, warned the coaching staff before the clash against United. “But,” they continued; “We are still far from City, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern…”. And according to Xavi, Manchester has already returned to the football elite. “It’s the best United in recent years”, underlined the Barcelona coach, on the eve of the game at Old Trafford. Ten Hag changed the face of the England giant. He did it, however, with a checkbook: He invested 243 million in transfers. Barcelona has also opted to bolster Xavi’s squad: 158. A number that would stretch to 220 if Ferran Torres were added in the winter transfer window for the 2021-22 campaign.
However, United have seen a resurgence in Europe, while Barcelona is still stuck at their continental crossroads. And the club had nowhere else to itch to strengthen the team. After selling assets for nearly €800m last summer, Barcelona no longer has their grandmother’s jewels in their wardrobe. And if it finds them, LaLiga president Javier Tebas has no plans to accept them as a recipe for balancing financial fair play. “The levers (the euphemism used by Laporta to describe the transfer of the club’s assets) will not be useful next year. It is necessary to lower the salary sheet”, warned the head of the employers’ association. “Barcelona, then, will have to reduce the cost of its team by around 200 million. In sports management, they are already thinking about determining the players who can transfer them.
“We always said that the goal was the championship. We didn’t recover from the defeats in the match against Almeria, but we are calm. They confirmed on Friday morning with the coaching staff that we are not worried about being eliminated from the Europa League. In the economic field, however, the situation is a little more worrying. It was in Barcelona’s budget to play in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. It didn’t work: 20 million less. And now it has lost the possibility of entering 15 million if the European League is raised. “The club also loses its value. The drop in the Europa League affects Barcelona’s brand, “they keep their offices at Camp Nou. Leader of the league, Barcelona’s pain in Europe is endless.