Farewell, Sandro Rosell, aka “We knew ye all too well, yet not at all”

Photo by FC Barcelona
Photo by FC Barcelona

It is with, believe it or not, a heavy heart that I write this:

Sandro Rosell is no longer president of FC Barcelona. The man who has done so much to inspire so much scorn from so many culers, the man who ensured that the club’s unfortunate legacy of eating itself from within continues apace, is gone from the club boardroom, having resigned for the second time. (He also resigned from the Laporta board in 2005.)

Why a heavy heart, many wonder, since my dislike of him has dated back to before he won, when he was running on a “more Catalan than thou” platform, crabbing about “transparency” and saying that Joan Laporta was responsible for everything from club debt to trench mouth and bathtub ring.

Back then, it was a “feeling,” the notion that something wasn’t right. But I love this club more than I dislike any president, and the club that I love shouldn’t have to go through this, time and time again. Maybe our presidents need an iron hand so that any dissent is washed away in a blizzard of money. Maybe socis need to just be quiet when they have misgivings, and watch their Messi highlight reels.

But that just wouldn’t be Barça, nor should it be.

But my heart is also heavy because my club, the club of which I am a proud soci, deserves better. For me, it all started with Rosell’s assertion that African kids at La Masia were taking spots from Catalan boys, as if there were some sort of footballing affirmative action program that discriminated against the next Iniesta.

From there, it was the whole Catalanisme business as a prop more than a feeling as he and Laporta positioned themselves in the “mes Catalan than thou” sweepstakes.

In the comments sections of many a piece in this space, people would ask me what I had against Rosell, that I was being irrational and unfair. And then more things began to happen.

First came “austerity,” the notion that his predecessor had saddled the club with so much debt that, famously, we had to stop making color copies. A blogger on club finances, The Swiss Ramble, calmly explained what Rosell was doing, which was essentially charging everything possible as debt, to come up with a number that dwarfed the small profit that Laporta claimed as he left. It was on this plank that “austerity” was born.

Then the board decided to close membership. People focus on the foreign part, but he closed it to everybody. Even if you were born next door to the Camp Nou and wanted to become a soci, if you didn’t already have family by blood linked to the club, forget it. The club later relented, and offered a Commitment Card, by which after three years of paying a fee the club might let you become a full-fledged soci. The Card had to be renewed in person at the Camp Nou, a move which many said did indeed discriminate against foreign socis. Not for me. If you love the club enough to become a soci, you love it enough to visit Barcelona three times in three years.

Then he sold the shirt, using a backdoor maneuver by which the man he detested, Laporta, had gotten pre-approval from the Assembly. The board struck a deal with (then) the Qatar Foundation. We later found out that not only did their 30m per mean they could put anyone they wanted on the shirt … it included Camp Nou branding as Qatar Airways signage occupied pride of place and Qatar Airways was painted on the seats, where heretofore had only been the vaunted “mes que un club.”


Then the list began to accelerate quickly, from the Brazil corruption allegations that involved friendlies and kickbacks, to his public falling out with Johan Cruijff that led to one of the club’s icons vowing to never set foot in the Camp Nou while Rosell was president.

— Pep Guardiola left the club. He said it was time. People who disliked Rosell suggested something deeper, that board stuff was driving him out. We will never know, but we do know that the scurrilous campaign waged against Guardiola, using visits to a sick Tito Vilanova as a lever, drew the former coach out of his corner, swinging.

— Eric Abidal, despite being told by the club that he would be renewed whenever he was healed from the cancer that threatened his life, was jettisoned via “mutual decision” in a weepy (well, the player anyhow) press conference. After Abidal battled cancer not once, but twice to return to the club that he wanted to retire from, that situation blew back on the board, fair or not.


— The Grada d’Animacio plans came up, a project interrupted by the Mossos d’Esquadra saying “Whoa, hang on.” It was widely thought that this was a way to allow the Boixos Nois, a group that Laporta worked hard and endured much to remove from the Camp Nou, back in. The project was scrapped, even as allegations that a deal was struck with the Boixos for their support in the election continued to burble just below the surface.

— Viagogo, a ticket reseller with rather fortuitous access to tickets to FC Barcelona matches popped up, along with questions about whether Rosell was still a 5% stakeholder in the company.

— One of the best goalkeepers in the world, Victor Valdes, decided to leave the club, on a free transfer. Valdes said that he wanted to seek other pastures, that he had played in Barcelona long enough. But at a photo opportunity for Qatar Airways, all the first-team players shook Rosell’s hand except for Valdes, who walked past without even looking at the club’s president.

— The B team, the root of the club’s futbol base, is falling apart in the hands of a coach that most culers think is not up to the task. So we watch a batch of immensely talented players run around like headless, planless chickens as B languishes too close to the relegation zone for comfort. Meanwhile, seven youth player contracts for players who are the best or among the best at their positions in Europe, ooze toward expiration. Neglect or distraction? Part of the plan? All good questions.

— And then quite possibly the straw that broke the camel’s back came in the Neymar transfer, a deal shrouded in secrecy and third-party transactions. The cost to the club was said by Rosell and the board to be EUR 57m. Then things really got messy when rumors of a price that far exceeded that began percolating.

A soci, Jordi Cases, wanted to know some details of the transaction, as there were questions about many things including a 40m payment allegedly made to Neymar’s father. The club claimed confidentiality and threatened Mr. Cases with censure. At that point Mr. Cases chose to take the case to court, to seek his answers there.

— Finally came the inevitable, the announcement of the Nou Nou, built on the husk on the old one, a nebulous announcement in which a few things were clear, all involving more: money, seats, luxury boxes, restaurants, at a cost of EUR 600 million.

In the past, there were referendums promised and meetings postponed about the project until finally, the board decided that socis wouldn’t even be asked about it. We, the board, have decided that it will be a renovated Nou, and you socis get to vote yes or no. Period.

Through all of the board’s dealings, a group that ran on the platform of full transparency and soci accountability chose a different path at every opportunity. And now, after all of this, a president is gone.

From Nunez and Gaspart, Elefant Blau and Oriol Giralt, from Go Barça and Sandro Dimissio to Rosell, this sporting club has been, for decades, riven by internal strife. Enemies come from within and without. Giralt forced Laporta into a skin of his teeth censure motion that he barely survived, enjoying the best revenge by appointing Guardiola and winning everything under the sun.

A censure motion was in the works against Rosell before the board decided to invoke Spanish law and say that the traditional 5% of socios, which had always been the standard, was now 15%. Sorry, kids. The motion was shelved and the dissenters chose a different tack, which is where Mr. Cases comes in.

The good

Image via fcbarcelona.cat
Image via fcbarcelona.cat

FC Barcelona, as a business, was always run kinda like a local grocery store that had really cool dudes hanging around. Rosell came in with the idea of reducing debt and maximizing profit by building the club as a marketing entity. In addition to the deal with the Qatar Foundation, sponsorship deals were struck with Panasonic and Intel. Irrespective of how you feel about their austerity picture, club debt was being reduced, and fast.

And the stadium is, logically, a good idea. The Camp Nou, unlike most stadium complexes associated with giant European football clubs, is like a Segunda stadium that seats a lot of people. You come for the match, and you leave. Aside from sponsorships, ticket sales were mostly the only revenue. Even the concessions sucked. The Nou Nou planned to change all that and drag the stadium that featured what is for me, the best football club in the world, into modern times.

The Rosell board also had an excellent history of transfers culminating in Neymar, an attacker many dismissed as a YouTube sensation who is in fact a monster, and not only on the pitch. He is also a marketing bonanza, who further increases the possibility of the club being able to add sponsorships. The Rosell board’s transfer list includes Javier Mascherano, Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song, Adriano Correia and Jordi Alba.

So anyone who thinks that the Rosell tenure was a miasma of corruption and transparency the equivalent of opaque glass smeared with mud, is mistaken. The board has done many good things and was learning others, such as how to defend the shirt when players came under attack via rumor and innuendo.

But ultimately, it’s still about a feeling, and failure at the very thing that Rosell and the board based their campaign on: transparency. From business dealings to transfers to decisions taken behind closed doors, our now ex-president and his board pretty much never chose the conciliatory, transparent path.

Why did he resign?

Ultimately, who knows? Detractors will say his chickens came home to roost. An uglier rumor is that Rosell has been receiving serious threats against his person and family, that the Mossos have records of contact with him in this regard. Still other rumors say that he was pushed by people on the board who have been against the way he has been doing things.

But let’s be clear about this: everything is an allegation. Neymar contract, Brazil rumors, Viagogo, Boixos, etc, etc … all allegations. Is it the death threats? Laporta received them during his campaign to eliminate ultras groups from the Camp Nou, and persisted.

Rosell, at the stadium project press conference, stuck out his jaw and challenged the judge to call him to explain the contract, that he would be happy to, that the operation was “impeccable.” A few days later, he’s gone. What happened?

At the resignation press conference Rosell spoke about the election, and the 61% of voters that went for his slate. He asserted that he and his board represented the club “perfectly,” like the generations of Barça supporters before them.

Rosell has cited the threats to he and his family, things that have made him ask whether “it is really worth being president of this club with my family under threat.”

He insisted that the Neymar transfer was correct, lectured about confidentiality and the value of it. Then it all came to an end with “That is why my time at this club has to come to an end,” after referencing the threats.

But the questions remain. And no, I do NOT believe that a president should be able to scuttle down the ratlines, appoint his crony as his successor and say “business as usual.” Socis elected a president, not a board, even as the succession of Bartomeu is in accordance with club statutes.

And still lingering in the air is, “Did he jump, or was he pushed?”

What now?

Photo by FC Barcelona
Photo by FC Barcelona

The interim club president is Josep Bartomeu. He remains in place until the end of the current board term, 2016. This of course, presumes that Mr. Cases doesn’t expand the scope of his legal proceedings to include Bartomeu, who is expected to continue along the same path as Rosell. It is difficult to believe that anything will change as regards how the club is run. For many culers, this is unfortunate.

What also happens is that many culers become grownups. Since Annus Guardiolus, this club has picked up piles of new followers and supporters, who were used to the good times. The team plays, it wins. Yay! But now those same culers understand that the history of this club involves strife and contentiousness. It isn’t just the culer notion that whatever the worst thing than can happen will, it is the reality that politics are as much a part of this club as footballing success.

Many will decide to ignore all of this. Why bother? Keep the head under the covers until the team starts kicking a football again. That’s okay, too. But as strange as it sounds, by not coming to grips with the fullness of being a culer, you’re missing out on the fullness of the experience. Culers didn’t just weep with the joy of those Guardiola-led championships. It was the fact that joy came without pain. The team just won, and it was beautiful. No infighting, no nothing.

It was almost with a sanguine, “That’s how it is” that culers accepted the subsequent heartbreak, Abidal, Vilanova, Guardiola leaving, the karmic pendulum swinging in the other direction. So much joy, thinks the culer, has to also involve some pain. And so it was.

What about the team?


I expect that the team will be unaffected. They are professionals. They have dealt with a beloved player and a just as beloved coach battling cancer. They have dealt with the most successful coach in the team’s history deciding to leave. Pros deal with stuff like this, because it’s their job. As for Neymar, who will henceforth be known as the player who has brought down a coach (in Brazil) and a club president, who knows? Are there pro-Rosell culers who will boo him every time he touches the ball? Possibly.

And what of that contract, that is now part of a legal process? Another good question. That the contract is legitimate isn’t in doubt for many. The club’s lawyers aren’t stupid. That the transfer cost more than the club says is also not in doubt. There are a host of possible outcomes that make impossible to say what will happen.

But that isn’t the point. The point is that a man who should have resigned from his elective office, did. Whether he was pushed (internal board battle) or chose to jump, is for me immaterial. How a problem gets fixed isn’t as important as that the problem is fixed. Did Sandro Rosell have the best interests of the club at heart? In his own way, I believe that he did.

But he also failed the club in a way that changed the perception of it, irrevocably. Like doctors, at first, presidents should do no harm. If they do harm, they should assess the extent of it and take the appropriate action to fix it. If they fail, they should resign. For this culer and soci, Rosell chose the correct path. Now comes the uncertain future.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Recent Posts

Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. tutomate
    January 23, 2014

    To Peter

    SwissRambles anaylisis are spot. However in this article he is not making an analysis of the clubs debt and liquidity with the quote you made instead he is reporting what club officials have said. And who were the club officials that reported this? Exactly,

    Instead take this from the same article which IS Swiss Rambles analysis:

    “The major concern is obviously the debt, which Javier Faus said was “the biggest in the club’s history.” We’ve not been given the full details yet, but the adjusted figure released by the club was gross debt of €552 million (net debt €442 million). However, we do know that this represents total liabilities and is thus misleadingly high, as it includes trade creditors, accruals and even provisions. In fact, Rosell and his cohorts should be ashamed of this needless scaremongering, which is not consistent with standard accounting practice – or, indeed, UEFA’s definition, which explicitly states, “net debt does not include trade or other payables.”

    As an example of how absurd the total liabilities definition is, just look at how high other clubs’ gross debt would be using this measure: Real Madrid €683 million, Liverpool €578 million and Manchester United €1.1 billion. Even Arsenal, which is regarded as the template for financial sustainability, would have “debt” of €767 million (though it’s come down a lot since the last annual accounts). This places Barcelona’s €552 million firmly into context. To use an old adage, you have to compare apples with apples.

    Under UK accounting practice, net debt includes bank overdrafts and loans, owner and/or related party loans and finance leases less cash and cash equivalents. Under this definition, Barcelona’s net debt in last year’s accounts was actually only €20 million, compared to Rosell’s total liabilities of €489 million.

    The truth is that Barcelona’s real debt lies somewhere between the narrow UK accounting definition and the new board’s widest possible measure.”

  2. tutomate
    January 23, 2014

    In case you did not read the whole thing I will highlight this part:

    “In fact, Rosell and his cohorts should be ashamed of this needless scaremongering, which is not consistent with standard accounting practice.”


    Your Move.

    • Peter
      January 23, 2014

      I have actually read it more than a few times.

      So Rosell and co. were scaremongering, but in July 2010, just days after him getting in the seat, the club took a syndicated loan from a group of banks. You realise, I hope, that you don’t just call the CEO of La Caixa, introduce yourself and ask for the money, right? Such deals take lots of time and negotiating, because both sides have to agree on terms of repayment and on what will be the guarantee. So if Barcelona’s net debt was so low(under the definition of Swiss Ramble it was 20m), then why did the club ask for the loan before Rosell stepped into office? Loan, I might add, is still being paid. You don’t actually reject the fact that the loan was taken, you just don’t trust Rosell when he says it’s in order to meet payments. So what is it for then?

      As for asking for my move, the money still needs to be paid. Whether it counts under someone’s definition to debt or not is not exactly relevant.

      The difference with the English clubs is that the majority of their debt is in bonds. Barcelona’s debt isn’t, it’s short-term debt that has to be returned in as little time as possible, because it has interest that increases if it’s not paid. The absolutely worst thing to do with bonds is to repay them in as little time as possible, because that means you need to repay the value of the bond as well as all the interest that you promised to pay until the date on which you have to repay the bond(2021 for the first bonds of Arsenal IIRC). It’s still money that needs to be paid. No, it’s not included in the debt. But it should.

      I am not blind, and there are some assumptions in the initial debt evaluation that raise eyebrows, but the great majority of it is actual debt. The signing of Keirrison, Henrique, Hleb, Caceres and Chygrynskiy was 76 million. Ibra… Keita, Dani Alves, David Villa, Maxwell, Pique, Pinto. These guys didn’t come for free. And yes, all these were either signed or paid for while Laporta was president.

      There were many, many shady deals that were made so that Laporta’s books appear allrighty. The real estate “sold” to MCM for 20m, the “income” from MCM for La Masia, the “won” legal battles… Those bills were left for Rosell to handle.

      • tutomate
        January 23, 2014

        You are missing the point Peter.

        How do we KNOW what the real reason for the loan was?

        All we know is what Faus said about it. Obviously he has a horse in the race. And according to the article YOU cited Rosell and Co. were exagerating (at best)or scaremongering(at worst). So forgive for not taking them at their Word.

        You seem to attempt to cite an article as foundation for your views and when I show you that what was quoted from the article does not back up your views you dismiss the conclusions of the article?

        Let me ask you? Why do you take them at their word and not Laporta?

        Because Laporta claimed a profit of circa 3M that year.

        Also it is not uncommon nor poor practice for businesse to seek additional loans or available lines of credit for a rainy day. How do we know that is not what Laporta and Co applied for.

  3. ciaran
    January 23, 2014

    Here’s my take on it:
    1. We’re in a much better financial state than we have possibly ever been.
    2. We have been successful on the pitch.
    3. The signings made were amongst the best we have ever made with no real mistakes.
    4. The sponsorships had to come to keep us competitive.
    5. The new Camp Nou was also a a necessity.

    1. Let’s face it, Laporta seemed like a great guy and I would sure prefer to go out to dinner with him than Sandro but who would I prefer to run my business? Rosell wanted his legacy to be success on and off the pitch which isn’t a bad idea.
    2. We’ve continued winning titles, even after Guardiola left, and look capable of continuing this under Tata. We’ve also had a load of success with the other sports even if our B team is playing terrible football under an incompetent manager.
    3. Masch, Adriano, Cesc, Alexis, Alba, Song & Neymar all play a very important role within the squad and and most are among the best players in the world in their position. And before anyone thinks it, Alex Song would probably walk into any team in the world.
    4. Laporta laid the foundations for jersey sponsors and it always had to develop into a paid sponsor. The other deals mentioned above were all clever including the most recent Intel deal. I may not be a fan of the Qatar deals but they are well paid. If we didn’t do those deals we wouldn’t be able to compete financially.
    5. The Camp Nou is a lovely but out of date stadium. Having visited both the Emirates (Arsenal) and the Allianz Arena (Bayern Munich) this past year we are a million miles behind them.

    • Peter
      January 23, 2014

      I wouldn’t be so fast as to declare Rosell awesome at business before we’ve been able to check his books.

      On the rest I am with you.
      Rosell didn’t really take the easy route. The easy route would’ve been to give Pep a big budget, try to keep everybody happy and go as Independista as possible, while keeping prices down and the shirt sponsor-free. For as long as possible.

  4. tutomate
    January 23, 2014


    First of all I wanted to thank you for the tone of your exchange. I realize that your opinion is not popular specially around here and sometimes people who have an unpopular opinion can get pretty edgy and defensive. I’m very much enjoying this exchange in views.

    So Thank you

    Second this may take me while to write so bare with me.

    • tutomate
      January 23, 2014

      You Wrote:
      “Laporta built the team – and passed the bill to Rosell. There was a moment when the players hadn’t received their salaries and the club was going to ask for a 150 million loan in order to manage to pay its bills”

      I asked if had a source showing to be be true preferably a third party (one who had no horse in the race).

      You cited SwissRambler (remember the exchanges with Arsenal fans? that was fun). But the part of the article you cited is not SwissRambler’s assessment or what he perceived to be the truth rather it was SwissRambler explaining what the news coming from the new Barca board was.

      This was the point of my contention in the first place. That basis for your original argument (cited above) was based on what the current Barca board said about the previous. We both know how both boards (specifically their Presidents) feel about each other. Furthermore rather than backing up your postulate the SwissRambler piece dismisses it with:
      “In fact, Rosell and his cohorts should be ashamed of this needless scaremongering, which is not consistent with standard accounting practice – or, indeed, UEFA’s definition, which explicitly states, “net debt does not include trade or other payables.”

      Next you say:
      “So Rosell and co. were scaremongering, but in July 2010, just days after him getting in the seat, the club took a syndicated loan from a group of banks.”
      That is not my assumption that is the assuption of the piece you used.

      Next you say:
      “So if Barcelona’s net debt was so low(under the definition of Swiss Ramble it was 20m), then why did the club ask for the loan before Rosell stepped into office?”

      There are many reason why such a loan or line of credit could be taken or sought.But it is not for me to explain the reason (it could just have been for a rainy day)you were that one that suggested it was to play the Barca players who had not been paid.I believe it is your responsibility to prove this not mine to prove it was not used for this purpose.

      Lastly I’am not saying you should believe Laporta. Rather the reasons you don’t take Laporta at his word are very similar to why many do not take Rosell at his.

      • tutomate
        January 23, 2014

        As an example.

        I work for in accounting for a Manufacturer. Currently we have very little debt however a few years ago we took out a HUGE, HUGE line of credit for cash flow purposes. Why? Because it makes doing business easier. We never have to worry about moving money around before payables make their payments. Nor do we have to worry about collecting before we pay our liabilities. Rather we draw against what ever payables are outstanding on the LOC and when we get our receivables into our bank account it goes back to repay the LOC. Someone could say that we are in bad financial shape because we take out huge loans (from our LOC)every month and have a 0 balance in our checking account. And though the two latter statements are true the first is not its actually far from the truth.

      • Peter
        January 23, 2014

        It is my understanding that the Swiss Rambler accepted the fact of the bank loan, as he talks about it and uses it as an example of the bad finances of the 2009-2010 season in more than a couple of articles. As a matter of fact he uses it in both his posts from 2012, about Real and Barcelona being the leaders of the pack, and “what is debt”. In the second one he establishes the total liabilities of FC Barcelona to 578 million, but the debt is listed at 430 million in 2010(so for the 2009-2010 season), IIRC according to Deloitte’s separate audit. That difference was explained in another SR post I just can’t be bothered to look for right now(I must get up for work in another five hours), but the essence has been that the club took the result of that audit and has been lowering the debt from that debt figure.

        As to why would I rather trust Rosell rather than Laporta: initially I didn’t. As a matter of fact I had no notion of debt and football finances until fairly recently. I was just browsing one day and found some info, don’t really remember where, about the discrepancy between the declared profit of 2009-2010 period. It had always been my understanding that the club must have lost money. I started checking the data and it didn’t really work out. How can you buy Ibra, Keirrison, Maxwell and Chygrinskiy, not win the UCL, not win CdR, not have a sponsor, invest lots of money in Ciutat Esportiva and La Masia, have the best paid team in the world, not sell anybody, and still have income?

        Then I noticed something else: the “value of the club” in the annual ranking of Forbes, Barcelona hadn’t really increased its value in 2007-2008, 2008-2009 and 2009-2010, whereas its debt value increased each year. I found it strange that despite the success on the field and the talented and valuable players in the team, the value of the team had stayed the same.
        It just didn’t make sense. Then of course came the noise about MCM dragging Barcelona to court over contract incompletion. What contract incompletion? I looked for more info, and I managed to find it in the MCM page itself. The idea was as follows: MCM invests money to build La Masia, then puts its LED screens and uses those to turn La Masia into an ads board. Profits after expenses shared 50:50. Total investment from MCM about 6m + the LED double wall. Projected profits up to 40m per year. Small firms would be able to rent the space and advertise their firm using the images and status of La Masia and the players that have come out of it. Wait, what?
        It got better. Under the initial agreement, MCM buys a land parcel from FC Barcelona for 20m Euro. Cool! 1.5m up front and the rest to be paid until 2013. Wait, what? And then I remembered reading about a land deal that Barcelona had sold for 20m and then bought back, and that independent experts had placed the value of that land to around 8m. So why did Rosell pay 20 million for a place that the independent experts he brought said was worth 8? Well, it turns out he didn’t. He renegotiated the already changed contract, paid back the up-front payment plus interest and got back the land. Hmm, “already changed”? By whom? Turns out, by Laporta. On the 17th of June 2010(after losing the elections) Laporta changed the contract. FC Barcelona would pay for the building of La Masia, MCM for the installation of the double LED walls, profits to be split 50:50, and partners and sponsors of Barcelona would have priority over the renting of the space.

        That did it for me. That’s why I don’t take Laporta at his word.

        • tutomate
          January 23, 2014

          There in lies your error. It is not an either or proposition. Disliking and mistrusting Laporta does not equate to trusting Rosell and vice versa.

          Either way your aforementioned explanation does not substantiate (IMO) your original statement, that Barca had to take out a circa 150M loan to pay the palyers, which was the basis of my contention.

          • Peter
            January 24, 2014

            The “profit” of “3 million” of Laporta turns immediately into 17 million losses just from the MCM real estate deal.

            I haven’t stated that I dislike and mistrust Laporta, I have stated that Laporta lied and cooked the finances of FC BArcelona. It’s a fact.

            It’s not a question of mistrust. It’s a question of calling things by their names. So you tell me, when it’s proven that the President liked about the finances, when it’s proven that despite increasing revenue and sport success the value of the club did not increase, but only the debt increased, tell me:

            Do you really think it was a loan just in case for a rainy day? Do you honestly, with a hand on your heart, think that this loan that represents additional interest, additional burden on the finances, was just so that things go smooth?

          • tutomate
            January 24, 2014

            Peter you said it, “When” as in it has not been proven yet which is the basis of my contention. So I see your “when” and raise an “if”.

          • Peter
            January 24, 2014

            “When it’s proven” as in “when it’s already been proven”, not “I’m sure it will be proven in the future”.
            23.12.2010, FC Barcelona recovers real estate. The deal involved paying pack the paid 1.5 million upfront as well as 3 million of VAT, in return for the parcel in Sant Joan Despi. I think the Swiss rambler talked about the real estate, “sold” at 20m, with just 1.5 million as actual payment, and the 20m added to the profit column. I think if you dig deeper you may find the description of the contracts between Laporta and MCM about the building and exploitation of La Masia.

        • G6O
          January 24, 2014

          The main reason for disliking Rosell is that he is in war with Cruyff and the people around him.

          I don’t think anyone here became of fan of this club because of how well it was run financially (which would not have been possible because it has never been run well financially), we fell in love with it for various reasons, mostly having to do with the work of Cruyff and his ideological progeny.

          If there is one man with a proven track record that can be trusted, that’s him. So if you go against him, chances are this will have a negative effect on the purely footballing side of things, which is what we as fans primarily care about. And note that here we’re talking about long-term effects – Rosell did a good job buying players (except for his refusal to buy a world-class defender) but the Cruyff influence is most important when it comes to the foundation of the club, and the effects of any changes on that become visible only years later.

          • tutomate
            January 24, 2014

            I agree that is A reason but I would not say it is the MAIN reason.

  5. Messiah10
    January 23, 2014

    Farewell Rosell!!! 🙂 This is one of the better moments of the year for our club. Through injuries, cancer, etc., we have finally rid ourselves of this holier than thou Prez who steps away in a cloud of controversy. Hmmm? He saw the writing on the wall. I’m glad Kxevin brought up the point of this being his 2nd resignation. That speaks volumes to me about his character and ability to work w/others. (i.e. Laporta & current board) Unfortunately, even if his ridiculous membership rules are revoked, the true potential of the profitability of Laporta’s membership rules will not be realized because of the brand name he’s tarnished the last 3 years.

  6. tutomate
    January 23, 2014

    Nice post. Though your Dennings for Rosell are well document and they show in the article it was balanced.

    It shows that though this presidency had many objectionable stands and actions it was not all bad.

    Hopefully we can have a new election soon and not till 2016.

  7. BA
    January 24, 2014

    a relatively minor drop in the bucket of idiocy that has been the Rosell administration, but you forgot the incompetent oversight that permitted the transfer of Thiago for far less than what we might have garnered from a deal for one of the best young players in Europe.

  8. PrinceYuvi
    January 24, 2014

    A grocery store run by really cool kids of the neighbourhood – Brilliant !

  9. CuleToon
    January 24, 2014

    Rosell’s resignation is not only hurried and unexpected: It is also strange, difficult to understand. No one seems to have a clue, not even most veteran Barcelona sports journalists… except —I think— those of Godó media group.

    Perhaps we may find there some clue about what’s going on… For example, one of Grup Godós big shots in sports, and one of the most notorious Rosell backers, Enric Bañeres, wrote yesterday morning —about 13 hours before Rosell’s resignation— a rather devastating piece against Rosell in EMD (http://www.mundodeportivo.com/20140123/fc-barcelona/marcador-en-contra-de-rosell_54399453073.html). Late last night and this very morning, at RAC-1 —Grup Godo’s radio station as many of you already know— I’ve heard similar «attacks» to Rosell throwing back in his face, perhaps for the first time, several items of Kevin’s list.

    Today, at EMD, and after a more or less «understanding» first paragraphs, we can see some of the same retreats to Rosell at the end of the main opinion pieces.

    And, while I write this, I’m listening to Catalunya Ràdio morning magazine where some catalan non-Godó big shots on sports criticize Rosell while admitting that they do not know what’s going on… go figure!

    I think it’s obvious that there’s something fishy going on here, and the most striking thing is that almost no one knows what it is. Moreover, I expect a lot of noise about the plan of the board to continue until 2016; In fact, I’m sure that the board will be «forced» by the media and by public opinion to call for an early election at the end of this season. Let’s see how all this develops.

    (To fotobijaresh: I wrote an answer to your comment in Kevin’s last post, but it got hectored! I thank you very much for your kind words but, as you can see, I’m as baffled as anyone…).

    • January 24, 2014

      Welcome back Cule Toon. This is exactly what was missing here, you see. Brief notes from the locality. Thanks friend.

      I am sure there are many of us here who appreciate your updates and all from the Catalan country. So please do comment as you can.

      @Kevin – This is an excellent article. I would love to forward this to our local news paper (in a local language, but believe me, the circulation is in millions) who, I am hoping, will come up tomorrow morning with a stupid story.

      • barca96
        January 24, 2014

        Now I am just waiting for NZM’s take on this.

    • CuleToon
      January 24, 2014

      Ahem… retreats meaning «criticisms»…

      • PrinceYuvi
        January 24, 2014

        CuleToon , There you are. You were MIA for a long time.

    • January 24, 2014

      There have been rumours that Vilarrubi is the driving force behind Rosell’s resignation. And Vilarrubi is vice president of Catalunya Comunicació , a media conglomerate led by…Grupo Godo .

    • January 24, 2014

      Welcome back, CuleToon! If the Villarubi rumors are to be believed, the Grupo Godo attacks make perfect sense.

      • CuleToon
        January 24, 2014

        Blitzen & Kevin: Yesterday I couldn’t listen to the usual sports radio programs that much, so I can’t say anything about Villarubí except for a very fleeting rumour —yesterday was full of rumours— that he could be the next president.

  10. January 24, 2014

    I just hope it means fresh elections and not Rosells incompetent cronies heading Barca.

    Kxevin and a few others might recall I tried to look on bright side of things with Rosell but his ignoring and ultimately hurting the first team was the straw that broke the camels back for me. If you look at the entire picture he has done far, far more harm to this club, it’s values and traditions than any good.

    Fewer people still might remember I was opposed to him before he even officially decided he was going to run. Back then we didn’t know much of his views except he hated Laporta and Cruyff. Infact he was so anti-Cruyff it caused him to resign. That should have been enough indication that this man will undo all the good work done by the past administration and will actively try to destroy its philosophy.

    Many old cules shout that Laporta was no angel and that’s true enough, ha had his flaws but he cleaned up this club in the face of enormous odds and personal danger, brought tradition and vision back to the club. Mended vital broken bridges and gave the club the best image it has had in decades. He might not be an angel but next to Rosell he sure looks like one.

    What we need right now is not the current Laporta and maybe not even the old one. We need someone who can correct Rosell’s missteps or better yet implement some of his promises to get the best out of them. We sure as hell could do with a much better (and better paying) sponsor, The Nou definitely needs redoing, a youth section is and urgent need as is a culture of interacting with fans post-match (see: Bundesliga) And not only does the youth team need way better direction and coaching it also needs partnership with smaller but Liga level clubs to gain top-flight exposure without the enormous pressure.

    Which doesn’t even begin to state the level of incompetency displayed in our transfer dealings for who knows? More than half a century atleast.

    Hopefully the socis aren’t complete idiots this time. I don’t have much hope.

  11. January 24, 2014

    This is huge!
    I always thought of Rosell as a power hungry person anxious to cement his legacy and write his own history. That he found no other option but to quickly resign from his duties points to some unknown that is potentially larger than this news. That nobody really quite knows the real reason lays further proof to that suspicion.

    I dont really know how to feel about this one. Yes, Sandro wasn’t the most likeable person and in that sense, its probably a good thing, we are seeing him leave. Again. But I am absolutely pissed off and disappointed at the harm this does to my club’s image and way of doing things. The underhand and shady dealings is a rotten way to drag this beautiful club through the dirt.

    He has certainly done some good things – particularly with respect to the signings. Almost every single one of them is a success in my book. But, the harm and negative things he has brought to this club far outweigh the positives which are few and far between.

    The fact that he promised transparency and delivered the complete opposite is probably what I’ll take away from his tenure – of him being a lying, manipulative weasel. That he drove Pep away, and sullied this hallowed shirt, thereby destroying years of history and tradition is something that is completely unforgivable. Creating a intolerable atmosphere for a club legend in Valdes, almost driving Iniesta away and mercilessly kicking out another legend in Abidal point to his character.

    I am glad to see the back of him, but am concerned and unsure as to how this leaves my club. What of Neymar now?

  12. January 24, 2014

    Here is a good piece from El Pais on Jordi Cases: http://deportes.elpais.com/deportes/2014/01/20/actualidad/1390247781_108103.html

    Cases’ lawyer, during an RAC1 interview, said not only that he didn’t see the viability of expanding the action to include Bartomeu, but that if he had his way he would drop the case, so that people who want to use it to harm the club don’t have the opportunity.


    Already, Santos is piping up again, and FIFA is saying that the Neymar contract occupies a “grey area,” and that they would be seeking to centralize things more. Everybody is grabbing for stuff now.

    Rosell and his board fell victim to hubris. Let’s hope that the dissenters don’t as well.

  13. Serena Andre
    January 24, 2014

    “If you love the club enough to become a soci, you love it enough to visit Barcelona three times in three years.”

    I disagree. For some, me included, it’s not a question of love, it’s a question of finances. I can’t even afford 1 trip to Barcelona, let alone 3.

    • January 24, 2014

      You are correct. I should have thought more about that one. I was thinking more of the total cost vs becoming a soci, and ruling out the travel expenses. Apologies.

    • January 24, 2014

      Lol, don’t worry Serena. you do not stand alone. With the latest devaluation of our local currency, my salary is now $20/month (needless to say, I would loooove to become a soci! 😀 )

    • January 24, 2014

      You are not alone here, Serena.
      However, I am saving up to go to Barcelona next year. The problem is with my work I can go there only in June/July, which means I will never watch a match.

  14. Jim
    January 24, 2014

    From Barcastuff:
    Barcelona confirm Neymar has cost 57.1M: 17.1M to Santos and 40M to company of Neymar’s family. Bonus of 2M if he ends top-3 in Ballon d’Or.

    I’m not getting this. Where is the smoking gun everyone seems sure is there somewhere?

    • January 24, 2014

      Same question everyone has, Jim. Still the question of the 40m and its tax questions, however.

      • Jim
        January 24, 2014

        If they’re being clear about how much and who it went to they must know the taxman will come after them if it’s not right. There may just be less to this than meets the eye …

    • Messiah10
      January 24, 2014

      I agree however Neymar also had 3rd parties that had stakes in him. I’m not sure what percentage they had, but did the 40M get split between them and Ney’s fam or did they get a split of the 17M. Who knows. I don’t care. I just care they Ney is part of our squad and club and Rosell is gone!

      • G6O
        January 24, 2014

        I saw significantly different numbers being mentioned in other places in addition to the 57M. Signing bonuses, the money we paid for first options on Victor Andrade and the others, the friendly games, then a long list of other bonuses for various things, some of which so silly as to be essentially more direct payments.

        Of course, the question is how much of that is true (and how much we don’t know), but it does make sense – otherwise Santos would have been incredibly screwed – you sell the third best player in the world at a time when other players in the top 10 all cost at least 60M and you only get 9M (55% of 17M) out of that? Hard to believe. But if you add the 10M paid 2 years ago for having the first option on him, the 9M for the friendlies, the 8M for the first options on the other Santos players (which we will likely never exercise because right now they just don’t look good enough – Victor Andrade may turn out to be a fine player eventually but at his age Neymar was already dominating games), and who knows what else, it adds up to 35-40M, which is about right given that he was coming straight out of Brazil. The elephant in the room though is that if you follow the above reasoning, there is another party there and it is whoever owned the other 45% – I doubt they would have been happy with an official transfer fee of 17M of which they get their share. So one can imagine large hidden payments going to them. Maybe that’s where part of the 40M went, but it may be that it’s completely separate money, in which case we would indeed be well over 100M. And still, all of that would not seem to me sufficient reason for Rosell to resign, so there has to be something darker that forced him to make an “I resign, you drop the case” kind of deal…

        • Peter
          January 24, 2014

          Since, as Kxevin pointed out, allegations are what brought Rosell down, here are some more:

          He and his family have been followed for months.
          There have been displays of “nice family you have. Be a shame if something happened to it.”
          After the holidays there was a hole in the door of his house. Confirmed to be from a firearm.

          As that scum Inda, the guy behind the “95 million” article once said “either by a civil route, or a criminal one.” Well, he was talking about how Messi should be dealt with, but it still stands. His soci disciples would be proud.
          Do you really think it’s a coincidence that in AS and El Pais there are “human piece” articles on Jordi Cases?

          • G6O
            January 24, 2014

            If that was a major factor behind the resignation then it would be the first time someone with that much power and such a track record ha resigned due to personal threats.

            If you are someone like Rosell and you get threats, you hire more security and work through the corresponding channels to eliminate the threat. You do not resign.

            You only resign in such a manner if not doing so would have meant going to jail and/or losing a lot of personal money.

    • Peter
      January 24, 2014

      The lawyer of that soci is already running his mouth off that “we gotta drop this case because people may use it to damage the club…”

      Neymar’s contract was just means. Rosell was the objective.

      • tutomate
        January 24, 2014

        I stated that would happen yesterday or even Wednesday.

  15. KEVpitt
    January 24, 2014

    Great article Kevin. Happy for the club to get rid of this guy! He reminds me of Hugo weaving and since Matrix never trusted that dude. I just hope Neymar’s transfer remains legit with everything and that it would not mar his career at Barca. BTW great article from Dermot Corrigan:


    • PrinceYuvi
      January 24, 2014

      Tanya awra !
      You should have watched LOTR ,

  16. TITO
    January 24, 2014

    As i didn’t liked Rosell’s face, same goes for Bartomeu.

    • Jim
      January 24, 2014

      There are a few of us with faces we’d rather swap though 🙂

      • January 24, 2014

        I don’t think we should be lambasting folks. I do think that Rosell was doing, in his own way, what he thought was best for the club. So is Mr. Cases, even though many disagree with his actions, as many others do with Rosell’s.

        Rosell had ancillary stuff, just as Joan Laporta did, not least his Great Uzbek Adventure. It’s the biggest reason many, including me, don’t believe he is the answer to this club’s presidential search. Not sure who is, frankly. Agusti Benedito is having a presser next week. We can pretty much guess what that will be about.

        Demonization doesn’t really help. There are lots of lingering questions that we can hope get filled out in coming weeks.

  17. January 24, 2014

    Sorry, but I don’t trust any of it. Maybe because I am a cynical, distrustful old bugger.

    • Peter
      January 24, 2014

      Risking to impugn on your cynicism with a bit of mine, I don’t think you would’ve been so distrustful and cynical had it been another president doing the explaining, one not belonging to this board.

      Very respectfully, of course. 🙂

      • January 24, 2014

        “Respectfully” usually means none is present, as in this case. Which makes any debate or explanation pointless. So think what you like. Not sure why you even bother visiting a place where there is such ham-handed, obvious bias. I wouldn’t.

        • Peter
          January 24, 2014

          I actually mean it. I respect the place and the general air. I have utmost respect for your mastery of the word, and I enjoy immensely the articles about football.

          However, just like you pointed out in the main article, we shouldn’t just close our eyes under the duvet and wait until the ball starts rolling again. To do so would betray our culerism. I also enjoy a challenge and debating with others because it’s good experience to be able to debate and discuss with others who deep in their heart love the club maybe even more than I do. Even when they wax poetically about the lost feelings of the era of a president who made half of his own board resign when he decided that the “Junta Directiva” should be more like its Chilean namesake.

          Also, ham-handed? Not at all.

        • January 24, 2014

          I don’t even really want to make accusations of bias. I think that we all have different points of view, and should be able to debate them in a respectful manner. When accusations start to fly, that becomes impossible.

          Points of view exist because people have their own ways of thinking about a situation. It’s why there are so many different ones. But without the basic respect that assumes someone’s point of view is honestly arrived at, there is no real basis for discussion, because every response becomes, “Well, you WOULD say that.”

          It all becomes innuendo. The clear notion here is that if Laporta were the president making the explanation, that I would be giddy with rapture, because I lu-uh-uvs me some Laporta. Yet people here with some history, know that I don’t think he is the best answer, or want his election whenever campaigns are next held.

          But with accusations of bias, it becomes easy to imply “Well, if Laporta was saying it, you would say.”

          How can reasoned debate happen under those conditions?

          We should all be able to discuss this matter, without bringing our points of view and letting those affect how we view the sincerity of someone else’s point of view. That, for me, is respectful debate.

          • Peter
            January 24, 2014

            Emm, no, Kxevin, the clear notion here, for me, is that if it had been not this board, you wouldn’t have been so distrustful of the explanation. Nobody is saying you would be giddy with rapture. And there is absolutely no need to use the L word. 😛

            But since I have to be honest about it, your article on the Nou Nou left me with the impression that had the decision come from another board, the cule and the soci in you wouldn’t have to struggle that much. But that’s just my impression. I understand and I actually share at least some of your misgivings of ex-president Rosell and the guys he brought. And I understand your internal struggle, because I’ve lived it myself, even though I am no soci and probably will not have the possibility to become one at least for the next three years.

            I just think credit is due. Even though I hate the price for that credit. Even though I wish the choice didn’t have to be made, a part of me cannot help but admire the man. I think I will finish that in another post.

  18. CuleToon
    January 24, 2014

    First impressions about Bartomeu’s long presser.

    As you know, I am/was anti Rosell and, by extension, anti current Barça board. So, as strange as it may seem (even to myself), I’ve been totally convinced by Sanllehi’s and Bartomeu explanation of Neymar’s «case».

    But there’s more: Even though I disliked Bartomeu almost as much as I disliked Rosell, I must say that the image I had of him has changed drastically. I never thought I would say this: He’s been brilliant during the presser. He’s been fluent, polite and humble in his answers, and, above all, he looked very sincere, explaining things in a very matter-of-fact way. For what it’s worth, that’s been my impression.

    Sorry I can’t tell you more about the contents of the presser itself, since I’ve work to do. Although I’m sure you’ll read about it elsewhere, tomorrow I’ll try to post some link to any good summary and/or transcription I can find in the press.

    Of course, there were pending questions no one asked (for example, what will happen with Freixa and others, or with the relation with Laporta and/or Cruyff), and, personally, I don’t agree with his pursuing the board’s current plans (referendum in april and elections in 2016). But all in all, and very unexpectedly, I feel rather hopeful… Go figure!

    • CuleToon
      January 24, 2014

      On the other hand, it looks lik the usual journalist and «experts» at RAC-1 (Godó) are not convinced at all…!

    • January 24, 2014

      Wow! Thanks! I was waiting to hear what you thought. I’m still torn, for many reasons that will either manifest themselves in a long-winded comment, or a new post just waiting to Hector you after another one of your informative comments. (Hehehehe.)

      Yes, that’s us journalists. We don’t trust anything. It frustrates me, and it’s me.

      • CuleToon
        January 24, 2014

        You’re welcome, Kevin!

        Frankly, I’m very suspicious in general, and more still on things Barça. However, that hopeful —and surprising— sensation still lingers…

        Tonight I’ll try to listen to RAC-1 and Cat Ràdio sports programs in order to get a better idea of what’s going on. I’ll keep you posted of anything I deem relevant.

        I look forward to know your thoughts/impressions on this. And I don’t mind to be Hectored (now and then!): It reminds me of those old good times!

    • January 24, 2014

      I don’t like Bartomeu, and I especially don’t like that he feels he has a mandate to continue until 2016. But I agree that he hit all the right notes in the press conference. He seemed sincere, he handles the media well, and he doesn’t have that air of impatience that Rosell always gave off when forced to answer questions from the press. I am cautiously optimistic and will give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

    • January 24, 2014

      And Martino likes him, so I suspect we will see him sooner rather than later.

    • ooga aga
      January 24, 2014

      here is a video of the Barca practice today, in which Afellay gets caught as “piggy in the middle” (minute 3:13)

      can anyone tell me what tello is wearing on his chest in minute 4:33 of the video?

      • Peter
        January 24, 2014

        I believe it’s a harness with biometric-measuring equipment. Cesc has been seen with one before. Barcelona’s agreement with Gatorade lets them use the Gatorade Sports Science Institute’s state-of-the-art laboratory. So it’s either that, or a fruit of the new Intel partnership deal:

        Supplying FC Barcelona players and coaches with the latest Intel-based 2 in 1 devices, while working with the club to improve its research, training and performance via the most up-to-date technology.

  19. ooga aga
    January 24, 2014

    and the other news, iniesta still not practicing with the team…i never heard that he had anything more than a “contusion” and they havent estimated his time to recovery…does anyone know whats up with ghostface?

      • January 24, 2014

        Club is still asserting that actual cost of the transfer was 57m. The other things were bonuses, etc that they don’t consider part of the cost of the actual transfer. So the “total cost of the operation” is EUR86.2m. Which actually isn’t that far off from the 95m that the club is scoffing at. Interesting.

        • January 24, 2014

          The difference between the 95M and the 86M is the 9M for the friendly games. That is the only thing that El Mundo got wrong. The money is only payable if Barça doesn’t play. We have already played the Gamper, so we owe one more game, or 4.5M if for some reason we don’t play.

          • January 24, 2014

            Ah! Yes! Exactly right, blitzen. Forgot about that, even as I was explaining to someone that the club didn’t pay 9m for two friendlies, that it was a penalty should that not happen.

          • G6O
            January 24, 2014

            Yes, but who gets the revenue from those games – pretty sure it’s Santos.

        • Peter
          January 24, 2014

          When I first read the “95 million” article, my first reaction was “that idiot forgot the two million if Neymar gets in the Ballon D’Or top three”.

          The other things are bonuses, payments for market penetration, agent’s fees, etc. Related to his contract, but not his transfer.

          Actually the total cost of the operation would be 130 million. Over five years. For the first five years. Kaka’s cost was 65+50(net, taxes apart). BL’s starts at 94.6m, without the agent’s fee, and from that moment on he’s been the best paid player in the world.
          Only Palpatito knows how much he’ll have to spend for Bale overall. Rough estimates make it up to 264 million.

    • CuleToon
      January 24, 2014

      That article on The Guardian (by Reuters) is very incomplete and, IMO, tendentious.

      First, those €86 mill include Neymar’s salary and potential bonuses for five seasons, something that is never included when talking about transfer fees.

      Second, that quantity also includes other operations that, according to the club, are different or independent from the signing proper, something that many journos and «experts» at RAC-1 didn’t buy after Bartomeu’s presser. Personally, having listened to Sanllehi’s and Bartomeu’s explanations I tend to agree with the club, but YMMV…

      • January 24, 2014

        Yes. The club is differentiating between “transfer” and “total operation.” So 57 for one, 86.5 for the other.

      • CuleToon
        January 25, 2014

        Correction: Those €86 mill don’t include Neymar’s salary, which appears in grey in both column of yesterday’s listing by Sanllehí & Bartomeu. I don’t like that: it leads to confusion and, worse still, it now looks —to me— like a little dirty trick.

        My level of hopefulness has been lowered some notches down.

        • Peter
          January 25, 2014

          They shouldn’t be including the salary anyway. And they haven’t.

          The meeting yesterday was to announce the details of the contract and transfer, and compare those to and refute the allegations that the club has paid 95.1 million for Neymar. I followed it in Spanish, not Catalan, so I cannot venture as to the truthfulness to the translation, but here’s what they said:
          “These are the numbers of the transfer and contract. Here’s how the lapdog of Palpatino interpret them, and then there’s the truth.”

          When you buy a car do you say you car is the price of the car, or do you add also change of tires, lubricant, hydraulic liquid, car insurance, tech examinations, after-market audio, shades, radiator cleaning, etc?

          • CuleToon
            January 25, 2014

            I agree, Peter, and I said the same in a comment above: The salary is never included in a transfer fee… I only say that they put it in both columns —and with the same quantity (44 mill)— in gray, but then do not add it to both totals, something that has caused, unnecesarily, a lot of confusion in many people (just look at reader’s comments in the usual sports papers). Being suspicious by nature (or nurture, or both!), I don’t like it, that’s all.
            And yes, Sanllehí and Bartomeu said explicitly that those totals «don’t mean anything» and that they produced those other entries just to explain/clarify the numbers published in the Madrid press. For the board, Neymar’s transfer fee (57,1 mill) and the other operations (the rest of entries), though related to Ney’s signing, are independent from each other. And here is where opinions diverge: Many people agree with the board’s view (as do Godó Group’s media), and many think that the signing of Neymar wouldn’t have been possible without those other operations and that, for this reason, they should be included in the cost of Ney’s signing. Personally, I don’t know what to think right now… What’s your take on this?

          • Peter
            January 25, 2014

            Sorry, I misunderstood your comment, I’ve been surviving on espresso and protein shakes for far too long. 🙁

            I will answer as soon as possible, but for now my view is part and part. But just in brief – Ney means a permission to print euros, even without shared image rights – because his presence alone generates market penetration. If Barcelona had to pay for those, well, pay it should. He gets 10.8m per year before taxes – David Villa got 11m after(neto). It’s money saved and the proverb works.

            Second, and this is just football, if he hadn’t come, the team would’ve been more or less leaderless once Messi went off. Neymar’s presence for me, his willingness to play and fight, without a whine that he isn’t ready to be the focus of the attack, working despite his star image, that made the other players realize that they can shine as well. Tata’s work is hugely important, because he somehow made the best of the players show, but I think seeing Neymar next to them made the rest apply more elbow grease. More to follow. 🙂

  20. January 24, 2014

    The actual cost of Neymar’s transfer was 86.2. According to http://www.sport.es/es/ext_resources/pdf/Fichaje_Neymar.pdf

    The breakdown is:

    17M for Santos
    40M for N&N
    10M signing bonus
    2.5M agent commission (his dad)
    4M marketing
    2.5M for a foundation
    2M for scouting (for 5 yrs)
    7.9M options on three Santos players

    The total amounts to 86.2M… Shouldn’t Barcelona have announced that price when we bought Neymar???

    • Peter
      January 25, 2014

      The signing bonus would be paid over five years.
      The agent’s fee will be paid over five years. The commission is what the agent is paid as part of the transfer, and there was no commission this time. The agent’s fee is what the agent gets from his player’s salary.
      4 million for marketing overall. Over five years.
      2.5 million for the foundation. Over five years.
      2 million for scouting. Over five years.
      7.9 million for options on three players.
      2 million if/when Neymar reaches the top three for the Golden Ball.

      And no, Barcelona shouldn’t have announced that price. Nobody does. This is probably the first case when transfer and contract details of a world-class player are actually seen. Case in point:
      There’s still no information whatsoever about Bale’s transfer. Or Cavani’s transfer. Or Ozil’s transfer. Nor is there information, wide public information, about the fact that Florentino’s firm has been chosen to help build the new Tottenham stadium…

      • CuleToon
        January 25, 2014

        Yes, I think we should keep in mind that the payment of most entries is over five years. Although I haven’t thought in depth on the implications of this, I think it will make a great difference.

        And I’m still waiting for someone to take a step forward and bring to court Bale’s transfer fee, which is a lot more suspicious than that of Ney’s. Apart from the discrepancy on the transfer fee between RM (91 mill) and Tottenham (101 mill), there’s that alleged involvement of Tito Floren’s company ACS with Tottenham’s stadium. But I don’t really expect that anyone will dare to take that step: Floren’s enormous power over Madrid’s politics and media is being reinforced by the current political milieu around Catalunya’s Independence…

  21. Jim
    January 24, 2014

    Club’s account of, and figures for , the transfer look pretty clear to me . Not sure they’d risk any misleading statements or untruths in the current circumstances. Which still leaves the issue of why Rosell resigned. I’d probably have settled for most of the figures mentioned and still felt it worth it for someone who could become the best player in the world. Could Rosell have been telling the truth ?

    • Peter
      January 24, 2014

      Culetoon was talking about the rumors that Rosell’s main backers may have turned against him.

      There’s also the minor point of the nine claims of threats and aggression lodged at the police by Rosell’s wife.

      The list includes up to five shots at the house. If we’re to believe the articles, security cameras have managed to record glimpses of the shooter as well.

  22. MessiDios
    January 24, 2014

    Rosell did nothing wrong. The details that Bartomeu explained today are almost never revealed in other transfers (especially expensive ones). Real Madrid never revealed the amount of money they paid to Ronaldo and Bale’s agents, Arsenal never revealed how much they paid Ozil’s father in his transfer etc. The transfer fee is what Rosell has always said it was. This was a brilliant business operation by Rosell. He made Neymar sign a pre-contract that would have made RM (or any other club that tried to sign him) pay Barça lot of money. This was one of the few times that Barça managed to get a player whom RM desperately wanted to sign. This was mainly possible due to Rosell’s business acumen. Pérez is sore about getting trumped, that’s why he is sending out his lapdogs like Eduardo Inda to attack the club.

    Lot of anti-Rosell folk (like Graham Hunter) said Barça don’t really need Neymar and that he is just a vanity signing by Rosell. Well Neymar proved them wrong by playing really well. He is just 21 (soon to be 22) and is only going to get better. He is the best young player in the world right now and will be a future Balon D’Or winner. The transfer process for players with third party ownership is always complicated so Barça have done brilliantly to get such a talented player for a bargain fee.

    The vilification of Rosell by some culés has been absolutely shameful. He was instrumental in getting Ronaldinho who turned the fortunes of the club around. Now he got us Neymar who will be the future star of the team. Lot of football fans are not renowned for having a high iq so it’s not easy for a smart businessman like Rosell to survive in such an environment. Many of these fans seem to prefer a demagogue with “charisma” in charge instead of a judicious person.

    • G6O
      January 24, 2014

      It is entirely possible to acknowledge the good that someone has done while also pointing out the bad things.

      I don’t think there are many people here who will deny that Rosell has navigated the transfer market quite well, both during these three years and 10 years ago.

      But he also did a lot of things that made fans of the club hate him.

  23. January 25, 2014

    Wasn’t Neymar’s ownership a little complicated? It might be that the 40M was to secure his full rights from all the companies than owned him.

    The answer the board gave us more or less justifies the 57M figure they’d been touting. But they still didn’t tell us why 40M was given to his father? Wasn’t that the real question here?

    There seems to be much more behind Rosell’s resignation than just the Neymar deal. But if the current board mounted a coup to get power, it’s a dangerous move. They have ZERO legitimacy now. A call for election is must in June but I fear our socis are way too easy to manipulate.

    • CuleToon
      January 25, 2014

      Those 40 mill were to secure his full rights from the only company than owned him: That of his parents, N&N (Neymar Sr and Nadine). And Sanllehí and Bartomeu stated it very clearly.

      • January 25, 2014

        Exactly, CuleToon. The club paid 40m to mommy and daddy so that they would tell him to go play for those Catalan people, instead of those Spanish ones. That whole structure of the 40m being a “penalty” for moving the signing forward a year? I don’t buy it. I think it was part of the deal all along.

        I don’t doubt that the club was forthcoming about the numbers. It’s the story behind the numbers that is lacking.

  24. ciaran
    January 25, 2014

    I am more than satisfied with the explanations about the Neymar deal.
    17 million for Santos for the transfer of their portion.
    40 million for N&N to buy out the other owners.
    10 million signing bonus for one of the biggest names in football is about standard.
    2.5 million for agent commission is much lower than the reported figures paid to English agents.
    4 million for marketing considering the marketing powerhouse that he is will prove to be a solid investment.
    2.5 million for a foundation is similar to what we have done with Messi and Eto’o etc
    2 million for a scouting network to be operated by Neymar’s dad for 5 years us similar to Bojan Snr.
    7.9 million for first preference on the 3 Santos young players which while has nothing directly to do with Neymar’s deal, it helped Santos get a few extra million when Madrid were clearly sniffing around.
    & 9 million penalty if we don’t play the friendlies although we have played one and will play the second in Brazil and someone mentioned that Santos made only 2.5million from the Gamper.

    For me the foundation, scouting fees and the options on the young players have little to do with this transfer and the marketing money is a fantastic investment.

    • PrinceYuvi
      January 25, 2014

      Awesome. Thanks for clearing that up.

  25. Huckleberry
    January 25, 2014

    All started with the here and widely shared unsaid suspicion that a great part of the money spent for the Neymar deal went into Rosell’s pockets (“asking questions”). That doesn’t seem to be the case now.
    But why did he resign?

    • Peter
      January 25, 2014

      Putting aside the allegations of corruption, being spied and followed and having his family be spied and followed, and having his house shot at, putting all of this aside.

      How would you feel if for everything good you did for the club your contributions are severely undervalued, whereas every unpopular thing you do is being blown out of proportions and your decency and integrity are being questioned or even dismissed as inexistent by default at every step?

      How would you feel if after working for two years on a signing that opens up a 200 million people market, after some deserved payment for Luis Figo, after that said player manages to shine and silence the critics, you are dragged to court because people think you used a sleight of hand and stole, how would you feel? How would you feel if the guys for whom you are doing it state they would rather believe some paid hack and that you are guilty by presumption?

      Wouldn’t you say “fuck it, I quit.”?

      • CuleToon
        January 25, 2014

        Not to mention a lot of bad Karma…

      • January 25, 2014

        May be all what he had to do was to just give a ring to Cases or just a fax, and explained this to him in person, may be. He might have thought it insulting for a Barca president to having to talk to an ordinary pharmacist/socio.
        Or even talk to Neymar Senior for permission to explain all this, as his presidency/life was under threat. If Neymar sr agreed for this now, he would have done this before too, if Rossell had explained to him it was inevitable.

        As our new president mentioned, Rossell was looking quite happy till a few days back (even long after all the threats and all), possibly up until the judge accepted the case. So it would have been nice to explain the real reason for resignation, rather than pointing out to threats and others if any.

        Even I received threats from Hindu fanatics, while I was running a cultural centre, for 6 out of 9 years in that job, and that is just normal when you are heading an organisation and doing things (good or bad). If you are scared of such threats you make it public/ take help / move on – quit immediately. Not weeks after.

      • January 25, 2014

        No, I would NOT say “Fuck it, I quit,” because I am the president of one of the biggest football clubs in the world, a football club which is also, always and has been, a political viper’s nest not to mention an entity that carries the hopes and dreams of an entire people.

        That is not an enterprise that you enter into lightly, nor is it one that you throw up your hands and quit when the going gets tough.

        No gratitude is expected. No quarter given, and none asked. Rosell made some very bold decisions and stuck by his guns. As recently as a DAY before he chose to resign, he stuck out his jaw and threw down a challenge to the court to call him, that he would be happy to explain everything about the contract.

        All he had to do was not treat Jordi Cases’ request like shit on his shoe. Instead, he threatened Cases with censure and expulsion. So Cases went to court. Cases didn’t even want full disclosure. He wanted to know about the 40m. Rosell didn’t want to explain, didn’t feel like he needed to explain anything to a mere soci. So that soci went to court.

        If I chose to take that office on, I would NOT say “Fuck it, I quit,” just as Laporta didn’t when he was receiving very real death threats in his fight against the Boixos in the Camp Nou. Being president is a responsibility. A serious, serious responsibility. It isn’t something that you take on until such time as you feel aggrieved or underappreciated, then say “To hell with this.”

        I would sincerely hope that this isn’t the reason behind his resignation. That would disappoint me greatly.

        • Jim
          January 25, 2014

          I agree that you don’t walk away lightly from such a post and it will for most of the time be a pain. That comes with the territory. Don’t know why he did it unless the board panicked at the thought of a court case dragging on and withdrew their support. He doesn’t strike me as weak or a quitter.

          However, I know who for me comes out of this whole sorry affair better . . . . and it ain’t the socio. Don’t know if he was working alone or with someone pushing the levers but he has succeeded in getting us a whole heap of bad publicity, losing us a President at a crucial point in the season, made one of our better financial transactions look grubby and for what ? Rosell told us what it cost and that seems to have been pretty much confirmed. For me, the board has no need to explain the details of contract negotiations to every member. Nobody in their right mind would give or expect that level of revelation. There’s always a better way than taking the club you profess to love to court, especially with elections not too far away. This smells.

          • January 25, 2014

            Actually, the board had the opportunity to handle this differently, and they didn’t. They got huffy and threatened the socio, who chose another route to get the answer that he sought. Cases even said had they treated him civilly and simply said, “Because he wouldn’t have come otherwise,” he would have been happy. Also, Cases didn’t want the full dog and pony show that Bartomeu, etc, put on. He just wanted to know about the 40m at first.

            For me, the Cases situation shows that this is indeed a club in which being a soci isn’t just lip service. It’s a responsibility. Weirdest of all for me is that everyone involved in this situation loves the club. They are just showing it in very different ways.

          • Jim
            January 25, 2014

            Yeah, I’m just having trouble believing that such a simple response from the Board would be the difference between court or no court. Especially when no other major contract in any walk of life would be opened up and explained by the employers to someone else, even if they were connected to the organisation. Does this mean we ( or rather you since I not a socio) have the right to know exactly what Messi is paid or that the bird have to call a meeting of socios for permission to put in a bid for a player ? These are all similar uses of club moneys.

          • January 25, 2014

            Actually, yes, Jim. If there were suspected irregularities in the Messi contract, I or any other soci could ask the board about the matter, and bring proceedings if not satisfied.

        • Peter
          January 25, 2014

          Kxevin, you are assuming again. Jordi Cases is apparently well-known in the Barcelona HQ, if we’re to believe the new president, he’s been time and again at the office of communication with the socis. It’s just that he didn’t like the info he was given.

          Remember back in autumn the actions of that Soci? He had a press conference at which he announced the intent to start a motion of censure. Then he started the motion and it failed even before it started. He didn’t say anything about Neymar back then. The motion was all about “selling us to Qatar” and “losing the trust of the socis”. His last comments were “this ain’t over, we’re looking at different possibilities”.

          It was later, when he had lodged the claim at court, under the vaguest clause available*, that he spoke about the Neymar transfer for the first time. And he wasn’t threatened, he was informed that he would be held responsible. To my knowledge he wasn’t threatened with expulsion, even though I personally have asked for it.

          And it was when the whole media storm was growing geometrically, that he began talking to the Madrid media going “Well, that escalated quickly. I just wanted a straight answer, you know, how was I supposed to know that lodging a criminal case against the president of one of the two most known clubs in the world would create such a frenzy?” My ass, that was him washing his hands of responsibility and covering his butt, nothing more. His lawyer’s statements confirm that it was always only about bringing Rosell down, by any means necessary.

          Personally I think that it wasn’t Rosell’s feeling “unappreciated” or “aggrieved” that led to his resignation. For me it was the wholesale howling of the public, combined with “whatever does the job” attacks. But the anvil that broke the camel’s back would be the threats and attacks against his family. You may be very tough, but when it’s your family on the line, you’d need to be a proper bastard to carry on. Or a lawyer. Or a politician.

          You may call him vile and corrupt, but the man did the honorable thing. When he saw that he was alone and his staying was hurting the club, he resigned. He didn’t hang on until he was evicted. You are entitled to believe that he did it by necessity, just like you believe him to be a vile and corrupt man.

          For me the weirdest thing is that the president accused of lack of transparency was forced to resign by the unknown powers behind the soci looking for truthiness, after the documents leaked by an unknown person inside the court, documents that had been duly provided, showed the same that Rosell had been saying all along.

          • January 26, 2014

            The censure motion actually failed when the club decided to invoke Spanish law and insist that the number of socis signing on against the motion be 15% instead of 5%.

            Cases is also on the record as saying that had the club treated his request differently, he would not have gone to court. I don’t doubt for a second that he, like so many others, wanted Rosell out.

            And being vile and corrupt doesn’t mean that he is incapable of doing the right thing, which was to step down. Who knows why he did it. But I am happy that he did.

    • January 25, 2014

      No, Huckleberry, there was never any question about Rosell misappropriating money for his own use. Not even Jordi Cases, the man behind the lawsuit, ever thought that. It was simply a question of hidden contracts and undeclared payments.

  26. January 25, 2014

    * I stand corrected on asking why Rosell didn’t make all the details (signing bonus, commission, etc.) public. I think I was just shocked at how much higher the total figure is. Would be very interesting indeed to see the total fees involved in other transfers as well.

    * How did N&N end up with the rights to Neymar? Did they at one point buy his rights from Santos or from any other 3rd party that owned them? Or are they just acting as an agent and cashing in on their son’s success? I am baffled by this.

    * Regarding N&N, if it is the latter and the company acted as an agent rather than a 3rd party who sold us the rights to the player, what will the consequences be for Messi’s contract negotiations?

    * Either way we can be very happy to see that the contract is legit. That is one less thing to worry about. It does raise the question, though… What the hell, Rosell?

    * Here and elsewhere I see our ex-president widely lauded for his infallible transfer policy. Now I won’t deny that his business acumen and relationships has come in handy, but I am somewhat surprised about how soon our laments for not buying a central defender for two (or three) summers in a row are forgotten. Never mind the players that he let go needlessly or cheaply.

    • January 25, 2014

      Will this prompt the parents of many future prospects to make an agency with rights for their children.

      My thoughts exactly Levon, instead of signing the most important requirement for the club, we went after legacy signings, isnt it.

      • January 25, 2014

        Hey, Neymar might very well leave a legacy, I mean, other than the legacy of getting Rosell to resign, which to me seems a falsehood that is being banded around like common knowledge, because if the deal was legit, which it now seems, than Rosell could have simply done what Bartomeu did yesterday.

        Anwyay, like I said, it is very interesting to see the total fees involved in the transfer. I wonder how unique all those special fees are, and yes, I keep wondering about the what and the how of N&N.

        I am not sure that Neymar was the sole reason for not getting a CB, though. It seems to me that if we take the 57M figure (to be paid over three years) and subtract the money we got for Thiago and David Villa there was enough money in the transfer kitty to shore up on our defense. Not to mention that we should have gotten one instead of Song two summers ago (no slight on our Camerunese powerhouse who I think is a very fine squad player).

        • January 25, 2014

          No doubts about Neymar going to being a club legend.
          Nor about Song, whom I like. I , only, like all our players, may be except Tello
          For me, ex president was a bit casual about the sporting project, which seems clear, to me, by the plight of the B team.

          • January 25, 2014

            I like Song, too, but I in my ideal midfield he is not a starter. Other needs should have been addressed that summer.

        • January 25, 2014

          Somehow the illusion persists that Neymar wasn’t every bit as essential a signing as a CB. This club desperately needed another avenue of attack, another star to take the load off Messi. We had a lot of creators, but no finishers, no people to draw double teams, create and raise hell, particularly from the left.

          Given the attacking orientation of our club, that need was, for me, even MORE important than a CB, particularly if you look at the improved defensive record this season, compared to last season, with the same personnel.

          This club was able to afford Song as well as a CB. That is the other idea that needs to die, that the club purchased Song inSTEAD of a CB. That would make our technical staff as stupid as many presume them to be. They aren’t.

          The club had its CB eggs in one basket, rightly or wrongly. When that player didn’t materialize, there were no other viable options, so that was that. They could have had Javi Martinez for less than Thiago Silva would have cost, but hemmed and hawed while Bayern said “Here’s a check. Send him.” And that was that. But you know what? He still wouldn’t have mattered in last season’s CL thrashing, had he been wearing blaugrana instead of Bayern colors. Neymar on our roster in that same tie, however, might have made a bigger difference. But that’s speculation.

          The biggest impediment to this club signing expensive players, for me, isn’t any individual player, but a building, a stadium complex. We are saving our pennies for that monster project.

          • Jim
            January 25, 2014

            “Given the attacking orientation of our club, that need was, for me, even MORE important than a CB, particularly if you look at the improved defensive record this season, compared to last season, with the same personnel.”

            Exactly !

    • PrinceYuvi
      January 25, 2014

      That guy has a solid punch and He’s 1.96 M tall, Quite gigantic by Barca standards.

  27. January 25, 2014

    This just in: Toni Freixa has resigned the Barça board.

    — Joan Laporta (surprise!) has called for elections at the end of the season, as the socis voted for a president, not a board.

    — Afellay is in the squad. Martino had very positive things to say about him. NOT in the squad are Neymar, Puyol, Iniesta, Song, Montoya, JDS. All are in varying states of knocked.

    — Stuff is happening fast. A Brazil court has apparently approved a request for an 8-year prison sentence for Sandro Rosell. (Will never happen. Rather silly.)

    — Our new president is on Twitter @jpbartomeu, for those who want to follow him.

    • Jim
      January 25, 2014

      Brought down by the board or in sympathy with Rosell, Kxevin ?

      • January 25, 2014

        Interesting question. Considering that he was the one who ignored the Cases certified fax, then threatened him with censure, my guess is he was pushed. But who knows?

    • January 25, 2014

      Just clarifying, Toni Freixa was not actually a board member. He was a club employee, a secretary & spokesperson.

      • January 25, 2014

        Thanks, blitzen. I tend to forget that, due to his prominence and right-hand status.

        • PrinceYuvi
          January 25, 2014

          I think so, Jim. He might be a bastard who kicked Abi out, but He was ‘our’ bastard.

  28. PrinceYuvi
    January 25, 2014

    The comment section is full of brilliant comments galore.

    What a community !
    Respect. Amigos & Amigas 🙂

  29. January 25, 2014

    Fazio would be a great acquisition to our team and would continue the custom of Sevilla providing us with great defense minded players.
    Dani, Seydou, Adriano, Federico?

  30. Peter
    January 26, 2014

    CuleToon, I’m sorry about not posting earlier, but I needed to gather my thoughts.

    First of all, we lack a measuring stick. We cannot tell whether the details of Neymar’s contract are expensive or cheap, because this is the first world-class footballer contract the details of which are shown for all to see.

    Before I start, I must give a note of caution: I consider myself an ardent cule, but business is business and “la pela es la pela” :D. When signing a player you must be pragmatic as hell, because money does not grow on trees, and it’s not your money to begin with, it’s the club’s.

    40 million in the name of the father. Seems a lot – but according to the original idea he would have been a free agent when that happened. No multi-million transfer fees to Santos or his erstwhile thir-party owners. Spending 40 million to acquire what is the most marketable athlete in the world, and a veritable force on the field, at 22 years of age, would be a perfect signing. From a pragmatic PoV it doesn’t really make a difference whether the family of Neymar gets the money or his old club does – the money is paid. You could argue that this money goes indirectly to the player, but I wouldn’t necessarily agree. And it was those 40 million that lowered the transfer fee for Neymar, because he and his father informed Santos they would sign for no other but Barcelona. This limited Santos’ options and lowered the transfer fee, because in essence there were two, Barcelona and Neymar, against Santos – with an extra ace in the hand – “either you agree or you’ll get nothing”. And in this case Santos and the third parties were more pragmatic and business-savvy than Borussia’s president and board.

    17.17 million to Santos, DIS and the other third parties. Necessary, but it could’ve been higher, what with all the attention from other clubs.

    7.9 million for “first rights” and the two matches between Santos and Barcelona. A sweetening of the deal for Santos, who would thus get double of their official transfer – and more than they would get from Real’s offer, if the documents posted in Sport are true. If just one of these players becomes good enough for Barcelona, he would be available. The 7.9 million can be spent on one or two or all three players, and it’s a pre-payment as well.

    10 million over five years signing bonus. We lack a measure stick. There are rumors that Real tried to hijack Lewandowski with a double-digit million signing bonus, but it’s just rumors. We have absolutely no idea of what Bale’s signing bonus is.

    8.8 bruto salary for five years. Lots of money saved by Barcelona. Neymar gets a good salary putting him in the middle of the table of official salaries – but his income from image rights belongs to him alone. Here my pragmatism has to step back a little bit. I love the fact that Barcelona don’t share image rights with the player that feature just the player. This way the player doesn’t feel milked by his club and paid with his own money. He doesn’t get leverage over the club like “I can’t train today, I have a shoot with the sponsors.” And that is an incentive for the player to sign with Barcelona and to perform with the club – he knows he will be more famous and more richer just for doing what he loves to the best of his ability. That’s a great motivator. On the other hand, he wouldn’t be able to refuse the club when the club needs him for some marketing activity – precisely because his income off the field without the shirt is not touched. Pragmatically, the club is less dependent on any single star player and would concentrate instead on “selling” the club, not the player. Players retire or move on – the club’s legacy remains.

    2.7 million agent’s fee over the five years. Barcelona pay the absolute minimum in agent’s fees. Five percent would probably make most agents tear their shirts and scream bloody murder and daylight robbery. Due to the shared image rights, clubs like Real would need to pay their players higher salaries, which would generally make the normal 10% fee be much higher than what Barcelona pays(like three times higher).

    0.0 million agent’s commission. You may say that the agent got 40 million through his other legal persona, and you would be right, of course – but the agent’s commission is probably what makes the 91 million of Palpatino become the 101.3 million of Tottenham’s president. That money is saved for Barcelona. “Money saved is money gained.”

    4 million over five years to Neymar Sr. for marketing penetration. Like Bartolomeu said, this is a person who finds newer and newer commercial contracts and gains his son up to 35 million per year. You don’t get to do that without knowing the market and without knowing how to bargain. Let’s just hope it’s not a bargaining trick that had to be added to throw Sr. off the Real scent. Time will tell.

    2 million over five years to “Dad’s scouts”. I cannot tell, because Neymar Sr. is unknown quantity for me. We know he was a former footballer, and if I recall correctly, Neymar himself points to his father as a guiding force. So let’s hope he has the good eyes to find talent elsewhere as well. But at least for now to a layman’s eyes, this is money spent for no return. Even though it’s just 0.1% of Barcelona’s budget.

    I’m sorry again for the long and wordy post. I wanted to post it last night, but fell asleep. 🙂
    What’s your take on the matter? I believe I speak for all here when I say we’d like to read the views on a cule “on the ground” so to speak, because me personally, I’m as far as you can possibly go from Catalunya and still say you’re in Spain. 😀

    • CuleToon
      January 26, 2014

      Thanks for your reply, Peter. So, you are in the Canary Islands, then? Lucky you!

      Now, regarding your post, the explanations for each entry are the same that Sanllehí-Bartomeu stated in their presser, and I understand the logic behind them (although I would say that the 8.8 mill/year salary is not gross, but net; Moreover, IIRC, Bartomeu said that that 10 mill signing bonus is already included in the salary proper).

      But I still have to make my mind on the whole affair. For me, the key questions are: Does the cost of Ney’s signing include all of the entries or not? And, in the end, does it matter? Does it make a difference? If we take all entries together, shall we discount whatever benefits Barça derives from them? Were those 57,1 mill a lie by Rosell & Co because they thought that signing Ney for about 90 mill would be unacceptable to the majority of socis?

      Add to that the mistery of Rosell’s resignation. Now that he’s gone, those ex-backers that exposed his flaws in the media just before he resigned, are now writing justifying —and even laudatory— pieces… All this is a mess and, apparently, no one knows what has really happened (although somebody must know!).

      Then there’s the question of the board having to call for an early election at the end of this season. Like many other people, I think they should. And I’m sure they will because even Grup Godó’s journos are demanding it! I smell political forces at work here, but that’s just a personal impression that I can’t sustain with facts.

      Frankly, I don’t know what to think because I am as baffled as anyone. After all what I’ve seen —and lived— as a soci, I think that, right now, the best stance is to wait and see, hoping that, with time, we’ll learn more about this affair.

      • CuleToon
        January 26, 2014

        (Italics apply only to the words «lie» and «must»).

        • Peter
          January 26, 2014

          How do you get the italics anyway, and is there a way to add bold text?

      • Peter
        January 26, 2014

        In a way, it matters. You need to know how much money was spent. On the other hand, it matters to keep some confidentiality, because it helps the club negotiate with each different player and not end up paying body parts. Sometimes the public doesn’t need to know everything, because less than half of the public desires the best of Barcelona – and of the half that does, lots don’t really know what is best. I mean, why elect the president when you’re going to scrutinize every decision, without the additional knowledge? If I may point to an example of the past. Athens lost the Peloponnessian War due to the fact that whenever a talented commander rose, his opponents roused the crowd with speeches and soon had it howling for the head of said commander. Those commanders then either got prosecuted, executed or ran away. What had been a democracy became an ochlocracy.

        On the other hand, I don’t really think it matters that much, because the board considers that the market penetration, increased merchandising, ad and media revenue, not to mention pure negotiating power(“We have Messi, Xavi, Iniesta AND Neymar, if you want to be sponsors of Barcelona, it’s going to cost you some.”/ “You will be playing next to Messi, Xavi, Iniesta AND Neymar, and we won’t touch your individual image rights. Kindly tell your agent he gets five percent of your salary and nothing more”.), all this will offset handsomely the additional costs.

        Now, as to Rosell’s resignation and the “eulogies” in Catalan sports papers: Crocodile tears. It’s easy to lament the fall after pushing the person over the precipice. It costs nothing and misdirects the popular opinion, depending on the short memory of the reader.

        And being the disillusioned idealist that I consider myself to be, here’s an ugly idea: Remove Rosell in order to cash in on Messi after express elections in June. Four pieces of rumors here: Rosell being pushed instead of capitulating, French press claiming P$G are preparing a massive and Jorge Messi’s dismissal of the rumors: “Messi will stay here this year. Only God knows what will happen next year.”(that one is the resumé in MD, so you might want to add salt while gently stirring.)

        As for the elections, and taking into account that I am no socio, and have no stake or say in the matter, why have the elections? Has the board done something that merits the elections? Yes, I consider Rosell’s resignation a coup d’etat, forced to choose between his presidency or continued damage to the club(which would’ve been prostrated and abused all over the front pages of the world’s press for months with “latest updates on the corruption and tax-evasion trial against UEFAlona and its president”. The opportunity would’ve been too juicy to miss.) But seen objectively, what bad has the board done to merit elections? You know, there’s the possibility of a motion of censure – and all you need are about 18 000 signatures to start it. But of course that’s not what the other side wants – because you’d need to gather those first, and then you’d need 66.6% of the vote to go through. That’s why it’s much better to have early elections, before the smoke clears and before people start looking around and asking questions. After all, in elections you won’t need two thirds of the majority, you’d need for your guy to be the most voted.

        Furthermore, I confess I am against the notion of elections precisely because Laporta wants them. A president that behaved in his final days more like Pinochet than the elected president of FC Barcelona, a guy who was voted out of office and carried on depending on a technicality when he should have resigned, that guy has no right to lecture others on having lost legitimacy and “doing the right thing.”

        When a guy like that starts talking about legitimacy, doing what the socis want, lost faith and whatnot, better check whether you still have your wallet, watch and car keys.

        So yeah, I’m against the June elections – because I consider this to be the pragmatic approach. There’s no real need to vote without having an informed opinion first, and I suppose just like you, lots of socis are really baffled. This is the electoral equivalent of being whacked on the head by a bat and given a paper to sign while your brain and body are still trying to find a consensus on which way is up. Is that paper a form that certifies you agree to be given ten thousand Euro, or is it an authorization to sell your house, car and season tickets to an unknown third party and move to Fiji, “It’s a magical place.”*?

        * – Combined “The Truman Show”/ “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” reference. Could not resist.

        • January 26, 2014

          There should be a vote because the socis didn’t elect the board, but a president. Yes, club law is when the president steps down, the vice-president becomes the president and things carry on.

          But for me, the mandate that Rosell had is severely damaged, and the swell of “no confidence” is growing, irrespective of how nice Bartomeu is now making.

          As for Laporta, he was a corrupt little bugger. They all are. But he looks like Mother Teresa compared to Rosell, for me. Yes, his calls for elections are because he is the best candidate right now (or should I say, “least bad”. But that was also the case when Rosell ran. His vote was so big because the rest of the candidates were poor.) Ultimately neither of them is the answer. But this doesn’t mean that Laporta’s words about how the board has lost legitimacy, and that an election in June is the correct thing to do, aren’t true.

          His term didn’t continue on a technicality. The percentages were the percentages, and there weren’t enough votes (just) to oust him. The rest is history.

          As for Rosell, good riddance. I don’t know why he ultimately resigned. I don’t believe that it was for the good of the club, nor do I or anyone else I can read/glean the thoughts of believe that the death threats thing was the real reason. The real reason might come out in the wash, but who knows?

  31. January 26, 2014


    — Bartomeu had a “very positive” meeting with Jordi Cases, and it is said that he will drop the proceedings. Note that yesterday, that is what Cases’ lawyer suggested anyhow. My guess is that he figures they don’t really have much to stand on, and certainly not enough to add Bartomeu to the action.

    — Bartomeu says the club is still in debt and still having cash flow problems, so socis have to vote to make sure that their mandate continues, so that they can fix all that nasty stuff.

    — Bartomeu says that Messi is “sad” because of the Rosell departure.

    — This is an interesting piece that gets at the quandary of being a soci right now, I think: http://futbolpirineusenglish.blogspot.com/2014/01/i-will-vote-no-but-maybe-we-have-to.html

    Note the assertion, which I agree with, that however you slice it, no way in hell Neymar isn’t getting at that 40m. So yes, his public salary is whatever the club says, but he’s the highest-paid player on the team over the 5-year duration of his contract. Does Messi get a bump to 21m per?

    Developments continue.

    • Peter
      January 26, 2014

      Actually it’s 30 million. The first ten were paid in 2011-2012. And Naymar Sr. bought a boat with the majority of them. So yes, Neymar will be getting what’s left of that 30 million. After a few decades probably, and after his sister gets her share. But if it keeps the soci warm and angry about disrespecting Iniesta and Messi, well, then it should be reminded often. But, you know, don’t talk about what Messi’s agent gets, keep reminding them of the corrupt board and how they bend over for the newcomers.

      And even if you want to add five million per year(or less, depending on what the tax inspectors think this is), you’d add it to what’s left from the 10.8m after taxes. Yes, I say after taxes, because if there’s one thing the “95 millionsez!!!” article and the Bartolomeu presser agreed upon, it’s that this salary is gross income, or “bruto”/”brut” in Spanish/Catalá. You pay taxes on it. If you don’t believe me, read the original article, or watch the presser, at 40-42 min. irrespective of the language where they speak about the salary. Even taking advantage of the Beckham law, he would get around 8.5m per year net. And he gets no bonuses. Of course if you believe what they tell you and not just the parts that suit the narrative. So no, I don’t think Iniesta would be moved from that second place.

      Messi is the best-paid player on the team with 16m net(after taxes). So no, not a problem of him getting upped by the newcomer. But I really don’t like to read articles that “lie to us and think we are idiots”. I like even less articles that say over and over again “I tell the truth, everybody saying different is lying.” Least of all I enjoy pure demagoguery and scaring of the reader(Bastards will sell Messi and/or the stadium!!!).

      BTW, that article is so full of factual errors and false assumptions that I can state with certainty I’ve heard more substantial tirades from the Madridista “forofos” in the local bar. Now I’ll never get the five minutes back.

        • Jim
          January 26, 2014

          Thanks for taking the time to reply in such detail, Peter. I know very little of club politics or finances and have enjoyed hearing both sides of the Rosell debate. I kinda feel I know a bit more of the ins and outs but have no idea where it leaves us ! I have often felt that Rosell, for all that he’s hard to warm to, has attracted unfair criticism for what seem to me to be hard headed business decisions in terms of bringing the club up to date. If he has been brought down by those who backed him before, it really doesn’t say much about the calibre of the board members we are left with.

          • Peter
            January 26, 2014

            It’s important to know both sides of the story in order to get an informed opinion. We are at least once removed from the news sources, and most of those sources have their own agenda. That’s why it’s even more important to have “eyes on the ground” who can share background information that can shape the perspective of the news sources. Only when we know the direction of bias of a news reporter and using numerous and different sources of the same news could we begin to form a coherent image of what’s actually happening.

            For example – AS is a Madrid-based newspaper that concentrates on Real Madrid mostly. However, due to the fact that the owners of the group to which AS, as well as El Pais – daily spanish paper belongs, are at odds with Florentino Perez, and Florentino Perez has thus retracted his financing, AS maintains a strong anti-Florentino policy(but ardently pro-Real Madrid). MARCA are the other Madrid-based sports newspaper, and they belong to the group that owns El Mundo. The article that Neymar cost 95 millions was written in El Mundo, by the former editor of MARCA, Eduardo Inda. Quite a few of those are practically paid by Perez and are readily available when it’s needed to write a suitable piece.

            You’d need to ask CuleToon about the two Catalan-based sports newspapers, Mundo Deportivo and Sport but as far as I know from him, Mundo Deportivo, as well as “La Vanguardia” belong to Grupo Godo, who apparently used to be the main backers of Rosell. News of the impending Rosell resignation started in La Vanguardia. Mundo Deportivo’s editorials and articles started being strikingly critical of Rosell in the last days before his resignation. That perplexed a lot of people, both in Catalunya and Spain in general. Speaking about the web editions, to me it seemed there was a tremendous increase of participation by pro-madrid posters. It was as if tens of people were refreshing the web pages, waiting for articles to appear and to start posting against Rosell. Not against Barcelona, but against Rosell.

            This more than anything else, convinced me that it’s a coup. It was bloodless, but otherwise it was a coup d’etat in FC Barcelona. Otherwise the numerous “experts” of the Catalan press wouldn’t have been so insisting on asking about Neymar during the New Camp Nou presser. The socio is by all accounts going to ask the trial case against Rosell to be terminated or to be shelved(could be used at another date, and details of the contract could be leaked whenever Madrid needs them to be.) What remains to be seen is whether there will be some repercussions for the socio(I’m deliberately using the Spanish word instead of the Catalan), but I don’t think so. He’s proven to be useful to be discarded so early. We’ll see.

            In any case, and as last words. Be careful, and don’t rush into conclusions. Just because it’s well written doesn’t mean it’s true. Everybody has their own agenda and consciously or not, we all shape the way we perceive the news. I defend Rosell not because I like him especially, but because I always try to put myself in the other side’s shoes, and I would really hate to be presumed guilty be default just because I´m not likeable and/or people don’t associate with me.

        • Huckleberry
          January 26, 2014

          I really appreciate your opinion, Peter. Thank’s al lot for your work.

      • January 26, 2014

        Yes, that piece has errors. Lots of them do. But note that I said “this is an interesting piece that gets at the quandary of being a soci right now.” Factual errors or not, the process of the writer working out things is something that I found interesting.

        There is no right or wrong, only opinion. You are clearly on one side, some of us are on the other. And that’s fine.

        For me, there are still many answers worth knowing, and anybody who claims to have them is incorrect. Narratives are what comfort folks as they type on keyboards, really. I don’t like to scoff at them because everybody has theirs.

        Not sure where it became a question of disrespecting any player. I didn’t mention Messi or Iniesta. I did do math and for me, the total means that again, for me, Neymar is pulling down around 20m per annum.

        Mom and pops put it in an annuity, cookie jar, mattress, whatever. They still have it. Now, the club is giving Messi a raise, to exceed the salary of Ronaldo. And now, I will wonder whether all of this Neymar contract business is having any effect on those matters, because it’s a valid question.

        It has already been said that other contracts, were they to be disclosed, would almost certainly have things in them equal to this stuff. But this isn’t about other contracts. It’s about Neymar’s contract.

        Nor do we know that the board is corrupt. We don’t even know for certain that Rosell is corrupt, though there is certainly evidence pointing in that direction. For me, the board, when a president leaves in a cloud of scandal, loses its mandate to govern. It’s as simple as that. Elections should be called in June. If the current board wins, with Bartomeu as president, continue on with support of the members.

        It isn’t about “keeping the soci warm and angry.” That is an inflamed, and inflammatory phrase bearing the implication that socis who want to know these things are fools, and that other, more rational souls have the real answer. It scoffs, and stifles debate, from my view.

        You have a point of view that is as strong or stronger than anyone’s in this space. I think you can get it across without ridicule or exaggeration.

        • Peter
          January 26, 2014

          I am too guilty of writing while under the influence of the previous post/article, and the fact that we can’t edit our posts generally works against me. In any case, there’s no way in hell in which Neymar pulls 20 million per year. Not as long as La Hacienda(Spanish treasury) has anything to do about it – and now they know how much they’re going to get. Like I said earlier, even if these 30 million are transferred directly to Neymar’s account(which they aren’t), they aren’t exempt from taxes. His salary and signing bonuses aren’t exempt from taxes. Even with the old guidelines of Beckam’s law in place(24.75% flat tax rate) his salary + 1/5 signing bonus + 1/5 of the 30 million, all of that saddled by taxes won’t get him anywhere near 20 million. The general mistake that people make is think it’s 4th grade arithmetics. It isn’t, not by a long shot. And especially when apples are compared to oranges. Case in point: According to rumors, Messi gets 16 million – net. His salary is 36.3 in this case, of which La Hacienda gets 20.3 It makes the debate a little bit different when Messi pays more in taxes than Neymar gets before taxes, doesn’t it?

          And yes, it a way it is about keeping the socis warm and angry, because once tempers cool down, people start thinking. As long as socis keep hearing about Neymar getting 20m, they will keep thinking of “Board lied to us, corrupt SoBs that they are”. They will keep thinking “Board throwing money on foreign mercenaries while World champion canteranos get fed scraps. Elections now!” and “Board going to ruin the club! Elections now!!!”

          And yes, there is right and there is wrong. Opinions are okay, as long as context is included and taken into account. 🙂 The problem is, they often aren’t.

Leave a Reply