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Barcelona have been struggling for a while now as a club and things have come to a boil this summer. Their problems are just beginning to emerge as the new season beckons in Spain with the Catalan club reporting losses of almost €500 million as per a report by Spanish journalist Guillem Balague.

The Catalans also had to part ways with their greatest ever player Lionel Messi after La Liga’s stringent financial fair play regulations meant that they were unable to register the Argentina international.



Fans all across the globe are distraught as Messi prepares to leave Barcelona – his home for the last 21 years ever since he arrived in Europe as a 13-year old boy.

And as the Pandora’s box begins to open in Catalonia for Barcelona, FootTheBall takes a look at the mess that the Azulgrana find themselves in, in the wake of Messi’s departure from the club.



The Spanish club made the signings of Sergio Aguero, Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Emerson Royal, but as of now they cannot register any of them to play for the club before the 2021-22 La Liga season begins on 13th August.

All new signings have to be registered on the La Liga Manager app before they can appear for their respective clubs in the Spanish top-flight. 



And Barcelona’s extravagant spending during the past few seasons has tied their hands from registering any of their new signings as of now.


What now for Barcelona?
Barcelona need to find answers to a lot of questions pretty quickly (Image courtesy – Marca website)


Therefore, as things stand Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay cannot play for Barcelona in La Liga even after having signed for the Blaugrana due to the sticky situation created by the financial fair play rules in the Spanish top-flight. And one wouldn’t be mistaken to ask the question: What now for Barcelona?



Lionel Messi was prepared to take a pay cut amounting to 50% of his salary to extend his stay in Barcelona, but it wasn’t to be as the Argentine and the club were not able to reach a suitable contract that was within the economic boundaries set by La Liga’s financial fair play rules.

After Messi’s departure, Antonie Griezmann is by far the highest earner in the dressing room at Camp Nou and he, amongst others, has not agreed to take a pay cut in the Catalan capital. 



Joan Laporta, in his press conference, said that there is still work to do in relation to agreeing reduced salaries for the existing players at the club. But, as things stand, players such as Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann have not reduced their wage packets until now and fans are understandably beginning to lose their patience.



Griezmann was booed by Barcelona fans as he drove in to the training ground, being blamed for Messi’s exit from the club with only Gerard Pique agreeing to a paycut apart from the outgoing Argentine. Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba are reportedly going to follow in Pique’s footsteps despite being amongst the club’s best performers.



Other players such as Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho can also potentially be scapegoated as they are in the top tier of earners at Camp Nou even after having no significant contributions in the last one season to give an account for themselves. There is a clear cultural gap between the old guard of Barcelona and the extravagant new signings made over the past few years and the situation does not seem to have an easy solution in sight.



Barcelona have landed themselves in a spectacularly difficult position as they cannot register new players and haven’t agreed to salary reductions for current players in the squad. 

As of now, Miralem Pjanic is still a Barcelona player despite being used sparingly by Ronald Koeman last season with just six starts in La Liga. He is still a burden on the payroll of Barcelona despite being a fringe player at best.



On the contrary, the Catalans have lost Lionel Messi for free and are no closer to registering their new players than they were in June and July. 



Laporta is being seen as the one who raised hopes after assuring of smooth contract talks with Messi, only to break the dream by abruptly announcing the Argentine’s departure from the club and must bear the brunt of fans’ anger and frustration.



Laporta mentioned that the post-Messi era has effectively started in Barcelona ahead of the new season, putting faith in the existing set of players in the fold of the club right now,

This band of players must prove themselves on the pitch in the next season and assert that Barcelona are still a force to be reckoned with even without the presence of Lionel Messi in the team.



Therefore, as of now Barcelona have quite a few tasks on their hands before the new season begins in Spain from next week. Messi was their best player by far on the field last season and manager Ronald Koeman will be forced to find solutions for his team to flourish without him this time. Koeman is yet to convince people of his credentials as a manager but there is no better opportunity than this one.

With financial considerations to take care of, beginning the new season with a strong start and being accountable to the fans on how they let Messi slip away in what was a roller-coaster of emotions for all those associated with the club, the Catalans have a long road ahead to becoming the power they were not so long ago.

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