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The Daily Bee (January 12, 2021): Axel Witsel Has Surgery on Achilles Tendon, FC Barcelona is in Financial Trouble

The surgery was deemed a success

RB Leipzig v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by Alexandre Simoes/Borussia Dortmund via Getty Images

Good morning, Fear The Wall!

Witsel Has Successful Surgery

Yesterday, Stefan Buczko reported that BVB midfielder Axel Witsel had successful surgery for his ruptured Achilles tendon by doctor Geert Declerq of the Belgian national team.

He suffered the injury in the first 30 minutes of the team’s match against RB Leipzig on Saturday, and these injuries are notoriously difficult to return to full strength from, especially for someone at Witsel’s age and with the demands of his type of playstyle as a roaming playmaker. If Witsel’s Instagram is anything to go off of, he looks to be in good spirits and says he will begin rehabilitation as soon as possible.

Here’s to hoping for a safe and successful rehab!

FC Barcelona in Big Debt

According to Catalonian newspaper La Vangardia, the giant Spanish club is in a tremendous amount of debt. €900 million of debt, to be exact.

This isn’t really news, as Josep Bartomeau, then President of FC Barcelona, labeled the club as the worst affected club by COVID-19 back in July in an interview with Goal. But to see that exact figure of debt is eye-opening. How could a club of Barcelona’s size and success, that plays in one of the highest-capacity stadiums in the world, and has one of the most recognizable international brands in the world, come so close to financial ruin?

There is a TIFO Football video that goes over the rise of former FCB President Josep Bartomeau at Barcelona before his eventual downfall. Namely, it all appears to start because of the two-window transfer ban for signing underage international players. Following the ban, Barcelona spent like crazy, making big money signings such as Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, and Antoine Griezmann following the departure of Neymar with little coming in from player sales. The rising wage bill has also been seen as a cause for Barcelona’s problems, as the TIFO Football video explains that it has become one of the largest in all of Europe and takes up over 80% of what the club spends. They’ve made progress in reducing the wage bill by allowing high-earning players like Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, and Arturo Vidal to leave the club, but it still isn’t enough.

The club has also run through key personnel like they were nothing. Five managers have coached Barcelona in the last six years since Bartomeau first took over as FCB President, and the club has gone through five sporting directors during that same time, according to the TIFO Football video.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has played a big role in Barcelona’s financial woes, namely the generation of revenue. With no fans allowed inside the Camp Nou since the pandemic forced the suspension of European football, revenue from tickets, concessions, merchandise sales and more have taken a big hit, so it’s no wonder they have been unable to make more of a dent in the debt and are now in trouble.

The failures across the board, from a competitive standpoint as well as from a financial and personnel standpoint, eventually led to Bartomeau’s resignation in October 2020. However, Bartomeau’s financial mismanagement, plus the pandemic, may result in hard times for the club for a foreseeable future. FC Barcelona are too important to Spain and La Liga, so I doubt they will be allowed to fail, so we will see what happens when the bill comes due.

The Daily Buzz

What do you think will happen to Barcelona? How can other clubs avoid falling into similar situations?