Barcelona usurp Real Madrid to top Deloitte Money League for first time

By Sports Desk January 14, 2020

Barcelona top the Deloitte Money League for the first time after also becoming the only club to break the €800million mark for revenue. 

The Camp Nou club generated €840.8m during the 2018-19 season, seeing them topple bitter rivals Real Madrid at the top of Deloitte's table.

Barca finished ahead of Madrid by some distance, with Los Blancos bringing in €757.3m across the course of the campaign, though that was enough to keep them second and in front of Manchester United.

The Red Devils may have underwhelmed on the pitch in recent seasons, but they remain a major financial power, with revenues reaching €711.5m.

United are one of eight Premier League clubs in the top 20, with Manchester City (fifth), Liverpool (seventh), Tottenham (eighth), Chelsea (ninth), Arsenal (11th), West Ham (18th) and Everton (19th) joining them.

However, United could potentially slip next year due to a lack of Champions League action this term, with Bayern Munich (€660.1m) and Paris Saint-Germain (€635.9m) the biggest threats to knocking them out of the top three.

Deloitte also understand United are at risk of losing their status as the Premier League's highest revenue-generating club for the first time next year, with City and Liverpool very much on the rise.

Napoli and Lyon are the only new entrants to the top 20.

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  • Reggae Boyz reject JFF wage offer, willing to forego World Cup qualifiers and Gold Cup Reggae Boyz reject JFF wage offer, willing to forego World Cup qualifiers and Gold Cup

    Reggae Boyz Captain Andre Blake has confirmed that the players have rejected the Jamaica Football Federation’s offer on terms and wages for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers and CONCACAF Gold Cup saying that they are willing to boycott all those competitions as they seek respect and fairness from their local football authorities.

    “The players are prepared to go all the way,” Blake told Sportsmax.TV today. “They treat us like slaves and we are done being slaves!”

    The players had made an initial request of US$7000 per player per match for the World Cup qualifiers set to begin in September. The JFF countered with an offer of US$2000 per match with bonuses of US$1000 for each win and US$500 for a draw. They claim they are unable to afford more.

    The players had until last Friday to sign their contracts but sources indicate that the JFF had extended the deadline by a “few days” to give them more time to mull what has been described as a “take it or leave it” offer.

    However, on the weekend, the players began to post ‘Take A Stand’ memes on their social media pages, a clear indication that they were not willing to accept the JFF’s offer.

    Blake confirmed that to Sportsmax.TV this afternoon.

    “The JFF submitted an offer, we countered that offer and they said they weren’t prepared to counter our offer,” Blake said. “We did have a new offer to put to the JFF and they made it clear, so after they did not counter-counter our offer, we reached out to let them know we were going to send in a new offer and they outright let us know that it was almost pointless to send the new offer because they will not entertain it.

    “What they have on the table is what it is; you sign it you are eligible for selection, if you don’t then you’re not. So, at this point, yes, I and the players said ‘sorry but we cannot sign that contract, so that’s where we’re at right now.”

    Blake said the players have now decided to take a stand because they believe the abuse at the hands of the JFF has been going on for too long. “It’s been generation on top of generation, anybody who has played for Jamaica can attest to this,” he said.

    “If we don’t put a stop to this, 20 years later, my kids’ kids or other players’ kids or public members’ kids are going to be playing for the same money and under the same poor organization, structure and poor professionalism and poor communication and Jamaica football will never get better.”

    He explained further that the current stance that the players are taking is not just about money.

    “It’s more about respect and how the JFF approaches negotiations,” he said referring to the leaked voice note on recent negotiations where JFF officials were heard referring to the players in a disrespectful manner as they tried to negotiate terms for the two-match trip to Saudi Arabia in November 2020.

    “The way the JFF goes about business is unacceptable and the players are just at a point where we think we have had enough,” Blake said. “Some things need to change. The JFF can definitely operate in a more professional manner.

    “There is just so much more than they make it seem as if players are just in it for the money. They can go ahead and violate negotiations by leaking what they want and keep confidential what they want just to paint a bad picture of the players.”

    Asked what he would like to see the JFF do to improve their relationship with the players, Blake said:

    “They JFF need to start to put the players first. The JFF is not putting the players in the best possible position to be successful. And when we are not successful using baskets to carry water, everything falls back on the players.

    “Travel arrangements are poor, hotel accommodations are poor, communication, poor, organization poor. It’s been going on for a while and we have just had enough. That’s the point where we are at right now and it’s nothing about whether you’re willing to play for free.

    “The JFF, they do things backwards. The board should enjoy all the luxury treatment and reap all the benefits while the players go out there and do all the work. It’s slavery and we’re done being slaves for the JFF.”

     Calls to members of the JFF executive went unanswered.

     

  • Pochettino: PSG will fight to the death to win the Champions League Pochettino: PSG will fight to the death to win the Champions League

    Paris Saint-Germain will "fight to the death" to win a first-ever Champions League this season, according to head coach Mauricio Pochettino. 

    The Ligue 1 champions go into Wednesday's last-16 second leg against Barcelona at the Parc des Princes well placed to reach the quarter-finals after a thumping 4-1 win over Ronald Koeman's side in the reverse fixture last month., 

    Indeed, no team in the history of the competition has failed to progress from a knockout tie over two legs after winning the first leg by a margin of three goals away from home. 

    They have also scored at least once in each of their last 22 Champions League games at home (61 goals), in a run that dates back to December 2015. The last team to keep a clean sheet away at PSG in the competition was Barca's LaLiga rivals Real Madrid (0-0 in October 2015).

    PSG were beaten in last year's final by Bayern Munich – Kingsley Coman scoring the only goal in a slender win for the Bundesliga side – but Pochettino insisted the painful memories of that defeat will not derail them this term. 

    "Clearly, it is the ambition of the club to win [the competition]," he told the LFP.  

    "There are a lot of other teams who want to win it; it's not that easy. We are aware of our responsibility, and we will fight to the death to achieve it.

    "We are unaffected by the past. We came here with a free spirit and without prejudice. These ideas convey only negativity. 

    "Staying focused on the past limits your future possibilities. We come with new energy. We think that we have the potential to remain in contention in the Champions League. 

    "In football, conviction brings you closer to winning."

    Pochettino was in charge of Barca's city rivals Espanyol between 2009 and 2012, although he said that does not provide him with any extra impetus to knock them out of the competition. 

    "I am not a fan of Espanyol who goes beyond the limits," he added. "Winning in Barcelona has a special flavor.

    "But we want to win for PSG, for our players, for the fans, and finally, for ourselves."

    The French giants eased to a 3-0 victory over Brest in the last 32 of the Coupe de France on Saturday to make it 12 wins, one draw and two defeats in Pochettino's first two months in charge after replacing Thomas Tuchel. 

    The Argentinian is clearly enjoying his time at the helm of a club he played for between 2001 and 2003 and has cited training as the most stimulating aspect of his job.

    "Coming to training every morning, being with the players, the staff, trying to improve, that's what motivates me," he said. "Maybe I even have more motivation to go to the training centre than to be in competition. 

    "Within the staff, we believe a lot in the preparation, the building of a state of form. Motivation, concentration, it is built day by day."

  • Convince Messi, re-establish La Masia, manage financial crisis - Laporta's to-do list as Barcelona's new president Convince Messi, re-establish La Masia, manage financial crisis - Laporta's to-do list as Barcelona's new president

    A new era begins in earnest for Barcelona, with Joan Laporta's second spell as president confirmed on Sunday following his victory in the election.

    Regarded as arguably the most important political event at the club in a generation, much was said to be riding on the collective decision of the socios, or members, who voted.

    Laporta, Toni Freixa and Victor Font had spent months outlining their plans in public, with La Masia, the club's crippling debt and the tumult caused by the previous administration among the main focuses.

    But outsiders can be forgiven for thinking the election essentially boiled down to which candidate stood the best chance of convincing Lionel Messi to stay.

    Laporta's first spell as president, from 2003 to 2010, coincided with Messi's rise from the youth ranks to global star, while he was also in charge when Pep Guardiola was promoted to the top job 2008.

    While nostalgia may have played a strong part in Laporta's ascension, 54 per cent of voters feel he is the best man to navigate a challenging period – but what are the most important tasks facing him?

    Messi – Should he stay, or should he go?

    Laporta stopped short of insisting Messi will definitely stay put under his administration, which was probably wise given he only has a few months left on his contract. Fans would have surely seen through such a promise.

    However, what he did throughout his campaign was emphasise his relationship with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, while also pointing out Messi's lack of familiarity with his rivals.

    "I am the only one who can ensure his continuity. If I don't win, I'm sure Leo won't continue at Barca," Laporta said at last week's debate. "He was not very happy with Freixa's time [Laporta's rival was an ally of the discredited Josep Maria Bartomeu], when they let him see that he was expendable."

    Of course, Messi attempted to force an exit last year, but his refusal to drag the issue through the courts meant Barca managed to keep hold of their prized asset.

    Since then he has insisted his future is tied to the competitiveness of Barca. Laporta's discussions with him will be key, but they could be undermined should Ronald Koeman's men collapse in the latter stages of the season.

    Make La Masia a force again

    For years Barcelona's La Masia academy was the jewel of the club, the inspiration behind many hugely successful teams and the school that developed some of the finest players to play the game.

    Even though a significant portion of the current squad have come through the ranks, La Masia's standing isn't quite what it once was and the likes of Messi, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique are all into their thirties.

    But Laporta emphasised the importance of the academy during his campaign, adamant he would look to restore it to its former glory, previously saying: "It will be our pillar, the backbone of the club's values."

    Nevertheless, with Ansu Fati emerging as a ready-made star and Ilaix Moriba recently establishing himself as one to watch, La Masia's reputation is already receiving a timely boost.

    Sell high-earning fringe players

    Eric Abidal's spell as sporting director was ill-fated, to say the least. A day after sacking Quique Setien in August, the Frenchman was unceremoniously dismissed as well, with his overseeing of transfers making him a contentious figure long before he was eventually shown the door.

    Among his purchases were the likes of Kevin-Prince Boateng, Malcom, Jeison Murillo, Junior Firpo and Antoine Griezmann – it'd be difficult to consider any of those successes.

    Granted, not all of his signings have been poor, with Pedri, Clement Lenglet and Frenkie de Jong brought in under his watch, but over the past few years the club has spent a significant amount of money on sub-standard players or underperforming so-called 'superstars'

    As such, the Barca squad is bloated in terms of its wage expenditure and many of the back-up players are expected to be put up for sale, easing the financial strain and boosting revenues.

    But before Barca can begin outlining transfer plans and a potentially revised recruitment strategy, Laporta needs to do something else…

    Establish a new sporting department

    Laporta is expected to bring his own people in to manage the club's sporting structure, and Jordi Cruyff – of course, the son of Barca icon Johan – is among the frontrunners for the sporting director post.

    Cruyff is still thought to have significant influence and respect inside the club due to his family name, with the former Manchester United player recently affirming to Cadena Ser that he believes his father would have always backed Laporta in an election.

    Mateu Alemany, former Valencia general manager, is also widely reported to be on his way in.

    Alemany had played a major role Valencia's resurgence during the previous decade but left under something of a cloud in November 2019, with the Frenchman and club owner Peter Lim at odds.

    Lim had dismissed popular head coach Marcelino Garcia Toral, of whom Alemany was a staunch backer, and that left the general manager's position looking untenable, particular after local reports claimed he wasn't even consulted about the subsequent appointment of Albert Celades.

    Very little has gone right for Valencia since the exits of Marcelino and Alemany – their reputations, however, have remained firmly intact.

    Strengthen the squad while managing debt

    It's no secret that Barcelona's financial state is a mess – they have amassed €1.2billion in debt and that has unsurprisingly impacted their clout in the transfer market.

    One of Laporta's main messages ahead of the election was that Barca needed a board and president with experience in such a tricky time, and that's certainly something he has in abundance.

    In his first interview since being elected, Laporta stressed the need to make the club financially stable. He told Catalunya Radio: "The first thing will be to do an audit but first I will greet the workers. The club is in mismanagement and now we will finally be able to make the necessary decisions. We will do an audit and apply our shock plan so that Barca is economically sustainable."

    Drastic changes could be on the cards, yet despite the financial state of the club, they will still need to work on improving the squad.

    Juggling the two won't be straightforward, particularly when you add Messi's demand for competitiveness into the mix.

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