Last season, Barcelona was knocked out, for the second consecutive year (from Atletico Madrid in 2016), from the Champions League quarter-final phase this time by Juventus. Does this mean that this is the end of the great Barcelona team that dominated everything in the last decade?
The answer is simple, no! Teams of this level are just changing. Barcelona throughout its history had as a core value the developing and the promotion of young players from La Masia in order to display the superiority of Catalonia. But, something has changed since 2011, Luis Enrique used 16 players from La Masia in just 3 years, but none of them is an important first team member now. Weren’t they good enough or Barcelona changed its philosophy?
Barcelona started to change its philosophy and adopting Real Madrid’s philosophy of signing starfootballers instead of developing a team from La Masia. This started after the removal of president Laporta.
Joan Laporta was Barcelona’s president from 2003 until 2011. During this period Laporta made a lot of changes, he brought Johan Cruyff to the club alongside with Josep Guardiola and Frank Rijkaard the three architects of Barcelona’s Total Football philosophy, while himself got involved with the debts and commercial activities of the club. In 2003 Barcelona’s revenues were 169,9 million euro, 148,7 euro in debt and less than 100.000 members. In 2011, Laporta’s Barcelona had revenues of 398,1 million euro, 112 million euro debt and more than 190.000 members.
Barcelona became the world’s number one football superpower and the profits were huge, and when the profits are huge corruption is knocking the door. Financial scandals, tax evasion and other illegalities took place and Sandro Rosell succeeded Laporta. Rosell had the same fate with Laporta and he was replaced with Josep Bartomeu. Under his presidency the phrase “mes que un club” belongs to the history books and nowadays Barcelona means business.
Bartomeu has set two objectives for the club:
- To increase the club’s commercial reach.
- The revenues to reach the tremendous amount of 1 billion euro.
When Barcelona opened its new offices in New York, Bartomeu had many meetings with representatives from many Wall Street brands, KPGM, JP Morgan, Black Rock and Morgan Stanley, all necessary contacts for a business. This is the road that all the clubs are taking nowadays, clubs such as Manchester United and Real Madrid, and now Barcelona is one of them.