The world of European football has rarely had a day like it.
When the announcement of the creation of a European Super League was made late on Sunday night, first thoughts on social media were akin to ‘oh ok, they’ve really gone and done it,’ before the anger set in for the majority.
At that point, even though they’d been named, Barcelona were conspicuous by their absence in terms of announcing anything official.
That probably had as much to do with the Copa del Rey content being given a last push as much as anything else.
The backlash was inevitable, so why tarnish the memories of a magnificent cup final victory any earlier than was necessary.
❗️ Barça, a founding Club of the new Superleague— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 19, 2021
It took until early morning on Monday before an official statement - much the same as those that appeared on the websites of the other 11 founding members - was released.
By then it didn’t tell Barça fans anything that they didn’t already know from elsewhere, but seeing official confirmation will surely have left a sour taste in the mouth for many culers.
The school of thought that UEFA are corrupt is one often perpetuated by Barça fans when decisions in the Champions League have gone against them, and to that end, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to hear some supporters coming out fully in support of the ESL.
However, the very fabric of competition and the way football has been played for years, nay decades, is at stake.
Once the hot air and noise from all sides dies down, just how are the club going to fare if their players are not allowed to play internationals for their countries for example?
Would this stop players joining or are they only in it for the filthy lucre? That’s a question that will probably get answered soon enough.
It may even allow Erling Haaland to become the first million pound a week player - if Barcelona or any other club is mad enough to splash that kind of cash. Maybe the ESL will be the framework which will allow any interested parties to do so.
The plain fact of the matter is that no one knows at this stage how everything is going to play out, what the Barça players think about it, and whether this would influence the decision of some of them to stay at the club or not.
Given that Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain are the only two European giants not willing to join the ESL (at this stage), it limits the movement of the truly elite players in any event.
From a financial perspective, this might just be the lifeline the club need.
The state of Barça’s finances are well known, and whether the socios agree with the moves that the club have made or not, particularly given Joan Laporta’s earlier assertions that the club wouldn’t join the ESL, there may be a route out of the hole Barça find itself in.
Moving forward it might well be of more benefit than hindrance to the Catalans, despite the fact they’ve essentially got into bed with Los Blancos.
Finances aside, for the working man, the entire notion of the Super League is anathema to the ‘beautiful game.’
And yet, Barça fans eventually accepted a commercial sponsor on the shirt, the vertical stripes got changed for horizontal ones and checks, galacticos were bought when the reality was that this was Real Madrid’s modus operandi and not Barça’s.
Plenty of other unpopular decisions have been made and still the loyal fanbase remains. As it will for the other clubs involved.
It’s certainly unpalatable at best, but even if decisions still continue to leave a lot to be desired, there’s little likelihood that the socios will desert the club in droves.