You can admire their football......but dig a little deeper and Barcelona's off field behaviour and dealings leave a lot to be desired.
A report came out last month by the University of Barcelona's football-finance expert, José María Gay de Liébana, that exposes the Barcelona myth. They are always going on about how they are more than a club and that player loyalty is down to a love of the club. I think we all know that 99% of modern footballers will pull on the shirt of the highest bidder - so it's no surprise to see that the player wages that took up €234.8m in 09 / 10 were the highest in world football.
It's a fantastic example of success at any price...or, to put it another way, financial doping....or just plain and simple cheating. This is a club that, according to the report, was burdened with €548.6m of debt in 09 / 10, this is (I believe) before the €150.0m loan they took out in order to pay player wages that were outstanding in the last post season (but admittedly also before their sponsorship deal with the Qatar Foudation for €150.0m - and have you seen how tacky and amateur the logo looks on their shirts?). Gay de Liébana starky says "That Barcelona, the Liga champions and Champions League semi-finalists in 2009-10 and winners in 2010-11, are technically in a state of bankruptcy is alarming for the entire football sector".
This is the same club that are this very day offering over €40m for Chile and Udinese forward Alexis Sanchez. Is it any wonder their disgraceful fake persuit of Cesc Fabregas includes any number of pathetic and absurd attempts to lower the price. Emotional blackmail, illegal approaches, shit stirring.....how can a serious, respectable club, publish an article on their official website, where Xavi accuses Arsenal of making Cesc "suffer". A player who is under contract until 2016.....and who didn't have a gun held to his head when he signed said contract.
The truth is Barsa a very deep in brown stuff. I am longing for the day when the rest of la liga put an end to the unfair share they get of the TV money in Spain, and they (and Madrid) come back down to earth with a thud.
It's about time they stopped lying and admitted they have a serious problem. Forget the dirty tactics. The transfer market they created by paying inflated transfer fees for players can't all of a sudden not be applicable because the player in question was a youth player at the club, or because others with deeper pockets have trumped them. Fabregas is one of the best young players in the world.....the same world that said Fernando Torres was worth 50 and Andy Carroll 35 million quid. So his price is his price. They can't afford it, and Arsenal are right not to bow down to the dirty tricks. And why should Arsenal accept a bargain price and payment in promisory notes (not cash in hand) when they took three of four seasons to pay up on the deals for Alexander Hleb and Thierry Henry using the same method? It would give Barcelona immediate access to a world class player, but would leave Arsenal unable to reinvest the money...until Barcelona finally cough up....and who knows when that would be?