Is Real Madrid better than Barcolona

The rescue league: why FC Barcelona and Real Madrid are still sticking to the Super League

The big Spanish clubs are suffering more from the Corona crisis than the small ones - the situation is dramatic with FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, which are probably the only clubs to stick to the controversial Super League plans. RND correspondent Martin Dahms reports from Spain.

"Barca are on the verge of bankruptcy," writes the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. "The biggest economic crisis in Barca's history," headlined Sports. "The economic situation of FC Barcelona is far worse than expected," said El País firmly. The friendliest is still Marca, the largest of the Spanish sports newspapers: The Catalan club has "little scope for major operations". So far, anyway. Thanks to the Super League, it should grow a little again.

At first glance, the planned European Super League has one purpose: It should make the rich clubs even richer. On closer inspection, however, it is also - or much more - a rescue league for overweight big clubs in difficult times. A safe retreat, like Las Vegas for Elvis Presley. Among the three Spanish clubs that originally wanted to play in the Superliga - FC Barcelona, ​​Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid - Barca is particularly bad. According to the figures presented in January for the 2019/2020 financial year, gross debt totaled 1.173 billion euros, including short-term liabilities - and these are just the real drama - of 730 million euros.

FC Barcelona urgently needs higher current income. Contrary to what you might think, the big clubs are suffering from the Covid 19 crisis much more than the small ones, who are financially relatively less dependent on ticket sales. Almost 100,000 spectators can fit into the Camp Nou stadium, but Spain's football stadiums have been closed to visitors for a year. This not only eliminates the income from ticket sales, but also the lucrative rentals of the VIP boxes and all other ancillary sales in the arena. For Barca, this meant a drop in sales of a good 126 million euros or 15 percent compared to the previous season in 2019/2020. It could get worse this season because not a single game has taken place in front of an audience so far.

That sounds dramatic, but it doesn't have to be. Despite losing millions in revenue, FC Barcelona was still the top-selling club in the world last year with 715.1 million euros, followed by Real Madrid (714.9 million) and Bayern Munich (634.1 million). Atlético Madrid is in thirteenth place with 331.8 million euros - just behind Borussia Dortmund. But Barcelona have, everyone agrees, a problem: the "salary mass", which must be reduced urgently - that is, the sum of the players' salaries. The club has, among other things, the highest paid employee on the planet under contract, Lionel Messi, who receives about 128 million euros in remittances every year.

Real president Florentino Pérez has risen to become the great advocate of his great rival these days. "Something has to be done," he said late Monday evening in a television interview in defense of the Super League. "If not, football will go away." But he didn't mean soccer itself, but the galactic one. "It can't be that most of the humble clubs in the league make money and Barcelona don't," said the Real Madrid president. His colleague from the humble first division club Villarreal, Fernando Roig, called this attitude "selfish, selfish and then selfish".

Real Madrid are also heavily indebted at 901 million euros gross, but are much better off than Barca in terms of short-term liabilities (203 million euros). Atlético have not yet released any figures for the past season, but are believed to be in a much more relaxed position. Which is probably the reason why the club was the first of the three major Spanish clubs to say goodbye to the Super League project. At Real and Barca, on the other hand, even the fans have got used to keeping as much money as possible being spent on their teams. Just no player sales or wage cuts. Better the Super League. No matter how selfish the others find it.