FC Barcelona: Hypocrisy at It's Finest
"We create players, not buy them, unlike Real Madrid." – Joan Laporta, Barcelona President.
It has been three months since Real Madrid embarked upon their second "Galactico" era, and they have been facing ridicule and attacks from all around the globe ever since.
Yet while Florentino Perez has come under heavy criticism for spending "ridiculous" amounts of money in this transfer window, their great Spanish rivals FC Barcelona have somewhat slipped under the radar.
Indeed, everyone seems to have forgotten and "forgiven" Barcelona for spending profusely on a certain striker who goes by the name of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
But the Director General of Real Madrid, Jorge Valdano, didn't:
"The church appears to be above religion. When they signed Ibrahimovic they didn't practice what they preached. It surprised me that they didn't apply the same rules as Cristiano Ronaldo to the Ibrahimovic transfer."—This is an excerpt from Jorge Valdano's interview which he gave two days ago to AS.
Just one day after Valdano's interview, the Catalan club purchased a 22-year-old defender—Dmytro Chyhrynskiy—from Shaktar Donetsk for €25 million, a significant sum for an established, world-class player, let alone a young, almost unheard of defender.
Had Real Madrid made the same signing, newspapers around the world would be condemning their transfer policies and Perez would no doubt come under scrutiny once again.
Barcelona, on the other hand, made the signing with no surrounding fanfare, and the move was barely reported in media outlets.
Fueled by the Chyhrynskiy transfer and Jorge Valdano's interview, I set out to research and found out that Barca isn't any better than Real Madrid when it comes to splashing the cash, yet people continue to turn a blind-eye on their spending.
Many would ask, how is that so?
Firstly, I would like to point at the transfer activities of both the clubs in the 2008-09 season:
Real Madrid purchased Rafael Van der Vaart and Ezequiel Garay in the summer and Lassana Diarra and Klaas Jan Huntelaar in the winter which took their spending to €68 million but the sales of Robinho, Soldado, and Julio Baptista got them €54.7 million. Their net expenditure, therefore, was €13.3 million.
Barcelona, on the other hand, spent €102 million in 2008-09 for Keita, Pique, Hleb, Caceres, Dani Alves, and Henrique, re-couping just €49.5 million of that through sales, leading to a net expenditure of €51.5 million.
Now let’s look at the much talked about transfer window of 2009-10 season.
Real Madrid purchased Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso, Raul Albiol, Karim Benzema, Alvaro Arbeloa, and Esteban Granero for a whopping total of €249 million.
The recent (stupid) sales of Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder, brought Florentino Perez’s sales figures to the magical number of €90.5 million (which he aimed for before starting the project). The net expenditure for this season, then, is €158.5 million.
FC Barcelona quite surprisingly spent over €100 million for the second year running, €129.5 million to be exact for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Dmytro Chyhrynskiy, Keirsson, and Maxwell. Through Samuel Eto’o’s sale, they recovered only €30 million, leading to a net expenditure of €99.5 million.
So in the two seasons combined Real Madrid's net expenditure is €171.8 million and FC Barcelona's net expenditure is €151 million, just a €20.8 million difference between the two.
If the difference had been larger, Barcelona had every right criticise Madrid’s transfer policy, but the fact is they are very similar.
So much for Laporta's, "We create players not buy them, unlike Real Madrid" statement.
That statement also implies Real Madrid do not have enough academy players in their team which, shockingly, is again not true.
Real Madrid now have seven academy players in their squad, namely Iker Casillas, Antonio Adan, Alvaro Arbeloa, Miguel Torres, Esteban Granero, Guti, and Raul.
Barcelona, on the other hand, have just six—Victor Valdes, Gerard Pique, Xavi Hernandez, Iniesta, Lionel Messi, and Bojan.
I have counted out Puyol and Busqets because they joined at the age of 17. However, if you are willing to agree that Cesc Fabregas is an academy product of Arsenal (he joined at the age of 15) then you can count Puyol and Busquets as products of Barca's academy.
I am not that good at math so I used a calculator and found out that Real Madrid now have one player more from their academy than Barcelona. So I guess you are wrong again Joan Laporta.
Real Madrid came into everyone's eyes because they spent truck-loads at once, their spending is indefensible but aren't FC Barcelona and Real Madrid at level planes?
So what should be said about FC Barcelona?
Why indeed, "The church appears to be above religion, they don't practice what they preach."
Note: I would like to thank Barney for previewing and editing the article before publishing.
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