A looming obligatory pay rise in Lionel Messi’s Barcelona contract and the potential extension of Neymar’s deal with the Blaugrana reportedly threatens to impact on the club’s ability to meet financial fair play regulations.
According to Santi Gimenez of AS, Messi will get a salary bump from June 30, while the Brazilian’s renewal, including a lucrative pay packet, is “pending.” But Gimenez claims this bolstered outlay means the Blaugrana will have to “significantly increase the club's income” in order to fall in line with the aforementioned financial fair play parameters.
Here’s a look at how the story was covered in AS, with the newspaper’s Twitter feed suggesting the inflated salaries are likely to “clean Barca out”:
If Barcelona do not meet the standards required, there could potentially be very significant consequences, per Gimenez:
This obliges the board to resign if during the course of two consecutive mandates the ratio of debt to EBITDA (income gained before tax and repayments) does not meet pre-established objectives.
Last year that ratio should have stood at 2.5 but was at 3.2. At the end of the next financial year the ratio must be lowered to 2.25, or Josep Maria Bartomeu and his board will be forced to step down.
In the piece, it’s also noted that aside from salary increases for Messi and Neymar, players like Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Luis Suarez are all on massive contracts. According to Gimenez, Barcelona are very close to the salary cap imposed by La Liga, too, spending a whopping €419 million (£319 million) of a permitted €421 million (£320 million) on wages per year.
Of course, keeping Messi and Neymar at the club is paramount for Barcelona, and for supporters, it’ll be good news to hear both players are contented.
Messi was recently crowned as the Ballon d’Or winner for the fifth time in his distinguished career, and after a substantial injury layoff earlier in the campaign, he is returning to his best form once again. Neymar has stepped up his game this term, too, thriving both with and without his illustrious team-mate alongside him.
Spanish football expert Sergi Dominguez thinks the Blaugrana No. 11 has been the standout player in European football this season:
The situation does seem pretty precarious for Barcelona, though. Not only do they appear to be extremely close to having little room to manoeuvre in terms of wages, but it was reported earlier in the season that the club has no money to spend on players in the January window, per Lluis Miguelsanz of Sport.
Granted, Barcelona do have one of the best squads in world football, but it’ll be a concern that even after moving players like Pedro, Xavi Hernandez, Gerard Deulofeu, Denis Suarez and Adama Traore on in the summer, they’re still short of money. Even for a club of their gravitas, it’s imperative new faces come in to keep current players on their toes and prevent the squad from becoming stale.
At the moment, it seems unlikely that Barcelona will have the financial clout needed to be able to bring in talent that would immediately improve their team. Even if Messi is to remain happy and Neymar does agree to sign on for more years, that’s something that’ll be a concern to those who frequent the Camp Nou.