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Barcelona’s wage bill grew by 61% in just four years

Just four players cost the team 300 million each season in wages

FC Barcelona v SD Eibar - La Liga Santander Photo by Urbanandsport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Deloitte’s Financial Due Diligence report on FC Barcelona has revealed startling facts about the mishandling of the club under Josep Maria Bartomeu.

One of the most astonishing facts is just how crazy player salaries got. The salaries grew by 61% between the 2016-17 and 2020-21 seasons, putting Barcelona far ahead of other European giants in terms of total salary bill.

In fact, just four players - Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho, and Ousmane Dembélé - charged 300 million each season at that point.

Three of those players (Griezmann, Coutinho, and Dembélé) were signed under Bartomeu; that’s three of the team’s five most expensive signings in club history.

Griezmann was loaned recently back to Atlético Madrid, while Messi was let go on a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.

Coutinho and Dembélé remain on the team but are usually considered expensive flops at this stage. Coutinho never settled into a role and was loaned out before returning. He has also been hit with injuries. Dembélé has produced more for the team, but has been injured even more. The 24-year-old, however, has not developed into the player the team had in mind when they paid Borussia Dortmund a fortune to sign him.

Barcelona’s CEO, Ferran Reverter, said that teams of a similar stature had wage bills that were 30 to 50% of what the Catalans were paying. In addition, he said that older players were given long contracts with wage increases every year. Meanwhile, young players were given short contracts. He said that policy was completely backwards to the way it should be: rewarding youngsters for improving and not tying up funds on veteran players who may be over their primes and depreciating with every season.