The publication of Lionel Messi’s most recent contract at Barcelona has shocked the footballing world, with the intricate details of a contract being like nothing else we’ve ever seen in the sport, and as such Real Madrid have suspicions that it has been in breach of Financial Fair Play (FFP rules for a number of years.
Neymar’s contract with Paris Saint-Germain and Cristiano Ronaldo’s agreement with Juventus are known to be two of the biggest contracts handed out in recent years, but the value of those deals doesn’t even come close to what Barcelona agreed to pay the Argentine.
It seems now that we have a good explanation on just why Los Cules are in such dire fiscal straits, especially if they were paying other star players high wages in accordance with the limit set by their offer to Messi.
El Mundo revealed the numbers behind Messi’s deal at the Camp Nou, although it is still due to expire in June 2021.
In the UEFA and LaLiga meetings on economic control measures, which many clubs actually despise, there was a clamour from leaders of other clubs to look into Barcelona’s financial dealings in the Josep Maria Bartomeu era.
They didn’t understand how Barcelona could be within FFP regulations, but be struggling so badly financially, with the full scale of those issues now made clear by the fact the words Barcelona and bankruptcy are commonly spoken together.
Real Madrid have looked at Monday’s shock reveal and feel vindicated in their long-held belief that Messi’s contract was in severe breach of FFP rules.
For years, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has done his best to ensure Los Blancos keep their feet on the ground financially by living within their means and following FFP regulations.
This is why we’ve not seen the blockbuster contracts handed out, or the aggressive transfer market policy which had previously been a hallmark of Florentino’s time as president.
Los Merengues have always asked UEFA and LaLiga to ensure that the rules are respected by everyone, and they are positive that they have always themselves done just that.
Real Madrid lived through a similarly difficult situation to what Barcelona are currently dealing with at the moment, with regards to Cristiano Ronaldo.
Cristiano spoke in 2012 about wanting to leave and this resulted in a new contract a while later, however when he did so again in 2018, his rumoured demands of a 30 million euro net salary were not met.
Real Madrid were clear with Cristiano; they couldn’t reach that number and nor would they, especially after those in power at the club had been assessing the economic situation in football for a number of years.
They had bent over backwards to keep their players happy and stay within the rules of FFP, and it resulted in fewer transfer deals in key positions, something which only began to impact the club when Cristiano left for Turin.
The way in which Los Blancos managed the Cristiano situation with a calm resolve has ultimately allowed them to survive the financial calamity that COVID-19 has brought to elite-level football.
Cristiano was sold to Juventus, which brought in valuable funds and took away their biggest contractual drain on resources.
Now, fans will argue that the spirit of their Champions League-winning teams was also lost that day, but it stands to reason that it’s better for Real Madrid to lose a battle than a war, especially after such sustained success under Zinedine Zidane.