July 23, 2019

Report by Dermot Corrigan for The Independent.

Teaming up Barcelona captain Lionel Messi with new signing Antoine Griezmann, and also bringing back Neymar from Paris Saint Germain, excites many both inside and outside the Camp Nou.

But with Barca’s finances already worryingly stretched even before paying €120 million to sign Griezmann last week, the idea of pushing the limits even further to sign Neymar should trouble anyone concerned about the Catalan club’s long-term economic health.

Ex-Atletico Madrid forward Griezmann’s arrival has brought Barca’s summer spending to almost €240 million, including Frenkie De Jong from Ajax (€75m). While players worth around €100 million have been sold - including Andre Gomes to Everton (€25m). However the club’s tricky financial situation still left the blaugrana board scrambling embarrassingly last week.

Barca’s directors made an eleventh hour attempt to negotiate a staggered payment plan for Griezmann, drawing a...

July 15, 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Real Madrid overshadowed a World Cup without big icons and leaves LaLiga with a big hole that will last for a long time.

Rumours about Cristiano Ronaldo's departure from Real Madrid had been rising Juventus' value on the stock exchange for weeks until the news became official last Tuesday. Real Madrid's most influential player of all-time ended a 9-years fairy-tale story at the white house, having won 4 Champions Leagues (3 of them in a row), 2 La Liga titles and 2 Copa del Rey, scoring 451 goals and adding 4 extra Ballon d’Or to the one he had won with Manchester United. Stats speak for themselves and show it will be an incredible headache to identify who can play the Ronaldo role in Madrid from now on.

Apart from having lost their superstar on the pitch, Cristiano Ronaldo's departure to Juventus also means that Real Madrid will also miss a vital cog in the club's well-oiled marketing machine, especially since the arrival of Florentino Pérez. From a ma...

July 15, 2017

A few days ago, when we were negotiating his contract as manager of our latest venture CE Sabadel FCl, Toni Seligrat said to me: "Oh my God how much has this changed, not so long ago managers were negotiating new contracts in a Director’s personal office, full of smoke and in the middle of the night, and often with proposals of under the table payments and other very creative clauses".

In fact, at the end of the first decade of the new century, club managers and owners were still making important decisions without the adequate experience or a team of experienced professionals on their side. And the numbers of the football business couldn’t be any more disappointing. Nearly €1,6bio of annual losses in European clubs, 19 out of 20 LaLiga clubs generating losses, accumulated debts in Europe of more than €7,6bio and recurring player complaints for non-payment. Football had hit rock bottom and conventional investors were conspicuous by their absence.

It was then that the different bodies that...

July 17, 2016

The unexpected UK exit from the EU puts at the borderline the most powerful football league in the world for the first time and translates into an excellent opportunity for LaLiga

On June 23rd a "match" not organised by the Premier League was held in Great Britain and its consequences could be a huge blow for the admired English clubs tournament. By voting in favour of "Brexit", British fans did a disservice to its favourite competition, probably in the best time of its history. At a sporting level, the revolution on the benches will mean big changes in the most important teams in the tournament. The arrivals of Guardiola, Mourinho and Conte to Manchester City, United and Chelsea respectively, with the first full season of Klopp at Liverpool and the signing of Ronald Koeman by Everton, will translate into new sports projects at top Premier League clubs.

And all this at a time of top economic prosperity, with the entry into force of the new TV contracts, which will bring English sides a t...

June 4, 2016

FC Barcelona wins the financial duel but Juventus’ management model is already widely admired

On April 9, 2003, when I started as FC Barcelona’s Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer, and coinciding with a Champions League quarter-final match between Juventus and Barcelona at the old Delle Alpi stadium, I asked to meet with Romy Gai, my counterpart in the Italian team. I wanted to learn from his marketing management model which, at the time, was making them earn 50% more than FC Barcelona on sponsorships (a 27% up overall) with an old stadium that hosted only 20,000 tifossi per game back then.

Juventus would win that tie -with Barcelona’s current manager Luis Enrique playing in both games- and eventually reach the final at Old Trafford, yielding to Milan in the penalty shootout. It was the last great performance by the Vecchia Signora in Europe. That Champions League final would lead to the team’s worst period, where it experienced an administrative relegation and the removal of titles...

October 11, 2015

“Our objective is to catch up with the Premier League and prevent it from turning into the NBA of football”, frequently claims Javier Tebas, President of La Liga. Such statement was made for the last time during the renowned Leaders Sports Summit, which took place this week in London with the presence of most of the main influential figures in the industry and, of course, with extensive media coverage.

How are you planning to do it?, asked perplexed the journalists from the most prestigious English media. The truth is that it sounds highly ambitious and looks like it’s going to be a long process, based on the existing differences between La Liga and the Premier League. Let me elaborate on this.

In the 2013-14 season the Premier League reached its historical revenues record, after increasing club revenues a remarkable 32% to get close to 3,900 million euros. La Liga also set a new record at 1,933 million euros, far from the English competition and behind the German Bundesliga (2,275). The...

January 14, 2015

The impossible dream of signing Messi is back stronger than ever to the forefront of the news. CFO’s have started their number crunching following the rumors on a possible bad relationship with his manager and the contradictory player’s statements in the media. We can no longer hear Messi say categorically that he wants to develop his entire career at Barça and this has alerted some of the most powerful clubs, which try to find that if there is a possible way of taking on board the four-time Ballon d’Or winner.

¿How much is it for the Argentinian star?

Signing Messi is not precisely a "bargain". On the one hand, it is clear that with elections just around the corner and with FCB being unable to sign replacements until 2016, the club will never sit at a table to negotiate the transfer of the best player in their history. There is no possible discussion around it and the potential buyer would be referred to the buy-out clause, which is much as 250 million euros in a contract that runs unti...

November 24, 2014

Los jugadores y aficionados de Inglaterra se preparan para un empacho, y no precisamente de turrón, mientras en la Liga BBVA y en la gran mayoría de ligas nos encontramos en pleno parón invernal

Un año más la Premier League inglesa encara un “empacho” de partidos de liga, nada menos que 3 jornadas y 30 enfrentamientos de máximo nivel entre el día 26 –el boxing day- y el primer día del nuevo año, mientras el resto del mundo futbolístico desconecta del balón durante unos días. Una muestra más de que la máxima competición inglesa es especial, y reconocida mundialmente como la mejor gestionada.

A continuación nos disponemos a repasar las 10 grandes diferencias entre la Premier League y el resto. Un conjunto de normas y tradiciones que contribuyen decisivamente al éxito de una competición que inundará durante los próximos días –más si cabe- las pantallas de televisión de todo el mundo.

1. En Navidad, más partidos que nunca

En la Premier League no solo no hay parón invernal sino que se produce l...

January 9, 2014

Jamón ibérico, wine… and now football players as well. Just like that. Last summer player transfers window has seen the number of Spanish players going international reach its higher ever. As much as 222 Spanish players are registered in top division leagues all over the world, resulting in yet another precious “good” exported globally by the country of La Liga.

Growth for 6th consecutive year

Since national team won 2008 Austria-Switzerland’ Euro, the number of players from Spain in international leagues has kept on growing. More precisely, the number has more than tripled, going from 70 at season 2008-09 to as much as 222 nowadays. And not just that, as during last years we have also seen a wide proliferation of Spanish players in the other top European leagues –England, Germany, Italy and France-, also multiplying by 3 to a total of 48 at season 2013-14, which also shows the improvement on the technical skills of the players from the country of La Roja.

All over the world and with Prem...

October 26, 2013

It was in London, financial and football European capital, on October 10th 2013. The crème de la crème of football business was gathering around Leaders conference in Stamford Bridge. Executives from all over the world were moving around to meet-up with best contacts, in search for business for their respective entities. And in there I had the opportunity to chat with Real Madrid and FC Barcelona international executives. For all of them a very straight forward objective: “To catch business”. And such objective is very often pursued in fight with eternal rivals. Indeed, more and more friendly games promoters and potential sponsors from remote geographies have to pick one of the 2 Spanish giants to do business. For that, executives from the “merengues” and the “culés” use their skills and state-of-art presentations to bring the client home.

The off-pitch rivalry among clásico protagonists is not anything of recent times. In fact, and for 4 consecutive seasons, Real Madrid and FC Barcelon...

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©2018 by Esteve Calzada. 

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