Laporta’s restructuring

Laporta's restructuring


Barcelona had neither head nor tail a few months ago, but president Joan Laporta has set about the task of restructuring the club. First in the sporting sphere and now in the financial sphere, with big moves in the offices, the Catalan president is fixing the problem left by Bartomeu. 

At the club, they are preparing to compete, and it is a good idea to go to where the best places with the highest odds are to place a bet on this renewed Barcelona, or maybe your favourite team. 

The return of Laporta 

Years after his departure as president of the club, Joan Laporta decided to make a comeback and ran for the Barcelona candidacy. Obviously, he won in a landslide because he had built one of the best teams in history and the club’s members were tired of so many failures. Laporta had to be the solution. 

As soon as he arrived, he realized that the club was financially ruined and that it was impossible to compete. He always put Barcelona first and made one of the most complicated decisions any president has ever had to make. To let Messi go.

How do you let go of the most important player in your club and perhaps the best in history? The president realised that retaining him was unsustainable, financial Fair Play made it impossible to keep a player with such a high salary, and it would do more harm than good. 

If Messi stayed, a pact had to be made with La Liga for his television rights, this would have helped to earn money and keep the Argentinian player, but it was a huge sacrifice, as the agreement was for 50 years, and it was like selling your soul to the devil. 

So the solution was to lower the salaries, which was exaggerated. Players’ wages were reduced and players like Griezmann, who had not performed as expected and whose salary was over 12 million per year, were sold or loaned out. 

Letting players go opened up the possibility of bringing in more, but without high salaries and money to buy, this became an almost impossible task. Because one of the attractions of Barcelona was that they paid a lot of money, and you competed for all the trophies because Messi was there, now neither of these options existed, so Barcelona was very weak in the market. 

Mateu Alemany, the team’s sporting director, was given the task of finding players for free, a real madness. But he managed to put together a very competitive team, which would later be given to Xavi, who arrived late in the season. 

Barcelona reduced the wage bill and brought in players like Memphis Depay and Aubameyang. World-class elements at zero cost, which is a sporting triumph and gave the club a chance to fight for something. 

Nothing was won in the season, but the start of this second Laporta era is very promising. 

What’s next? 

Barcelona is still cash-strapped, but with a couple of masterful moves, Joan has managed to revive a club that looked financially dead. 

First, he signed a deal with Spotify for 450 million euros for 12 seasons, obviously this solves a lot and puts money in the club’s pockets that allows it to fight for elite players. 

He also avoided big salaries to keep the payroll healthy. He told the players that nobody would earn more than 10 million euros per season any more and that this was a way to help the club and fight sportingly speaking. 

The players accepted this measure because if there is one thing this team has, it is the unity of the dressing room, it is total and there is no one who wants to harm the institution. 

But the problem is even deeper and this was solved by ceding 25% of the television rights and 49% of the marketing rights, which was a great institutional move that was approved by the members.

This makes it possible for the club to sign new players and thus be able to compete against the strongest teams on the planet, and also gives them the possibility of renewing their young stars, which is important because several of them were already on the verge of leaving because they did not have a better salary or a good contract.

Laporta has said several times that he does not want to sacrifice the future of the team for a player or for some whim, so he decided to start working on a deep restructuring of the team, and he is succeeding. 

The results are already showing. Many of the important players are being re-signed, and the captains have taken considerable pay cuts to set an example. The era of squandering money is over and with Laporta, the crest always comes first, no one is above the institution. 

Messi’s departure was traumatic, but it uncovered many of the club’s problems, from sporting to financial. What the president has done in this almost one-year term of office has been exemplary, there is still a long way to go, and the titles will come little by little, but the main objective is being achieved. 

Rescuing the team is not an easy task, and it will be a long process, but this is where the unity of the team was noticeable. From the members to the players, they knew that sacrifices had to be made to recover the essence that makes them unique. 

This is a new era at the Catalan club. Laporta is raising from the ashes one of the most important clubs in the world that was mortally wounded. Barcelona will fight again and be competitive, but we have to go back to our roots. They are undoubtedly more than a club.