It had been kept quiet for the last week or so, but news broke late on Tuesday evening, Spanish time, to note that Barcelona’s first-team stars had been asked to take another pay cut.
The photo opportunity that had seen club president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, visit the players during the training session on May 23, was actually a visit to go cap-in-hand and ask for another collective €10m or so to help balance the books.
The sheer brass neck has left me raging.
A squad who took on board a huge 70 percent drop in salary now being asked to cover the backs of a board that simply are not fit for purpose.
Worse still, there’s a suggestion that contracts for next season will need to be renegotiated too.
Whilst accepting that this pandemic has done unbelievable damage to all, particularly in a financial sense, Josep Maria Bartomeu and his board are culpable for almost bringing this club to its knees.
A reckless and feckless way of working had already been under the microscope long before the pandemic hit, but the fact that it did has brought the haphazard mismanagement into much sharper focus than it otherwise would’ve been.
The scale of imprudence is staggering. Is it any wonder the likes of Puyol, Xavi et al are waiting until either Joan Laporta or Victor Font get into power in 2021 before they return to the club of their lives.
Barcelona have long been a laughing stock. A team replete with the likes of Messi, Suarez, Dembele and Greizmann should be serial winners of the Champions League in much the same way as Real Madrid became during the last decade.
Instead of that, we’ve been forced to watch as, time and again, Bartomeu has forged ahead with his vanity project without a second thought as to whether players being signed would fit the Barca mould.
Arda Turan? Are you kidding me. Messi’s latter years at the club have largely been wasted because of poor decision after poor decision, and the pandemic has brought the chickens home to roost.
A league title and/or another Champions League this season is likely to satiate a number of supporters, in much the same way the treble anaesthetised them in 2015. But don’t be fooled.
Just think about how poorly your skills as a competent board must be if, as a bare minimum, you need your players to bail you out not once, not twice, but by next season - three times.
This is no laughing matter.