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Barcelona’s last five seasons: we’ll see a lot of players come and go and there might be more financial dilemmas

Barcelona may struggle on paper to register players for Wednesday’s crucial Champions League match.

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FC Barcelona’s ongoing soap opera continues as the team prepares to face Real Sociedad in the season opener on Saturday. The iconic Spanish club wants to return to the top of Spanish and European soccer without relying solely on their star player, Lionel Messi. Even though the Argentine superstar is now playing for PSG, Barça president Joan Laporta made his desire to have Messi back in a blaugrana shirt crystal obvious in a recent interview with CBS Sports. Laporta still has important non-Messi-related business to attend to, such as the process of registering the new players he signed over the summer. It’s like they’re playing a video game in which the “Salary Cap” option has been disabled for the career mode. We witnessed how their financial woes caused them to lose Messi and have trouble signing new players last season; will their alarming spending lead to further dramatic changes at the club?

Keeping those obstacles in mind, I have five forecasts for Barça’s upcoming season. After the draw on August 25th, you may watch them in the Champions League on Paramount+ for the entire season.

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1) Due to financial constraints, Barça have not made any player additions prior to the start of the season.

What the heck has this broke club done to spend so much money this summer? Just look at some of the big names that have signed on:

Raphinha earned more than $63 million.

To Jules Kounde, with $55 million

Robert Lewandowski received $49.5 million.

Less than a year ago, this team couldn’t even pay its players, but now it has signed Ferran Torres from Manchester City in January. They have tried to get their books in order to play in La Liga and meet all the other requirements for a successful team despite having an estimated debt of more than $1.3 billion. They reportedly raised close to $700 million by selling club assets, as reported by The New York Times. They have already signed a deal with Spotify to have their logo displayed on new jerseys and have sold 25 percent of their domestic TV rights to an investment fund. They have gone all in on buying players, notably highly sought after free agents Franck Kessie and Andreas Christensen, rather than paying down their debts. What’s even crazier is that, according to ESPN, both players have a release provision in their contracts that would allow them to depart the club if they are not registered in time for Saturday’s league opening. Neither player appears to be worried about the possibility of this provision being activated; according to Fabrizio Romano, they plan to remain long-term members of the squad.

A recent interview with The Athletic had Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani expressing confusion at Barça’s tactics. In addition, this occurs after they bargained with Barça to acquire Raphinha. Radrizzani has warned that he will take legal action if the fee for the player is not paid in full.

The owner said, “I can’t even fathom it [if the payments aren’t made], it’s ludicrous.” If not, a worldwide lawsuit including Barcelona will be opened.

The extravagant spending by Barça ultimately cost them the services of Lionel Messi. What this lavish spending could end up costing them is anyone’s guess. However, I anticipate that at least one significant signing will depart or be ineligible at the beginning of the season due to financial concerns.

Need even more soccer from around the world? Follow along and listen to Qué Golazo! Daily CBS Soccer Podcast with analysis, previews, recaps, and more from around the world and beyond the field.

Pedri becomes a worldwide phenomenon, 2.

We all know that Kylian Mbappé and Erling Haaland are the new superstar attackers in the sport, but the 19-year-old Spanish international Pedri will be up there with them in terms of superstardom. Pedri is the type of player who may lead Barça back to the top of the league thanks to his intelligence on the ball reminiscent of a young Xavi and his agility and passing reminiscent of Andres Iniesta. Just look at how unique he is and how inventive his attacks are. As the season winds down, he’ll be the reason they’re still in the hunt for the treble, but they’ll ultimately fall short. But after such an incredible year, Pedri will be a household name in sports.

Third, despite Barça’s Copa del Rey victory, the team’s season ends in disappointment.

In other words, you can count on Barça to bring home a trophy this year. In the final, they will face Sevilla, and I have them winning to bring home the Copa del Rey. Barça breezes through the competition and easily takes home the trophy thanks to a pair of goals from Ousmane Dembele in the final. It’s not the trophy they would have chosen, but it marks a turning point in what seemed like a long rebuilding process for the club.

If Barcelona can go to the semifinals of the Champions League, it will show that the club is far closer to the top of European soccer than many had previously believed. They get a bye to the quarterfinals and then lose to either Manchester City or Liverpool thanks to a favorable draw. The dynamic duo of Pedri and Lewandowski has been crucial to the team’s success this season, as the two have combined for more than 40 goals and 15 assists.

5. They pull off a victory in just one El Clasico, but ultimately fall short of the series. Spain’s top division, La Liga

Despite Barça’s success in one El Clasico match, rivals Real Madrid ended up with a five-point league lead and won the La Liga title. The club manages to do very well and be in the thick of the fight late on, but injuries damaging the depth of the defensive midfield sees them slip up when it matters most, finishing in second place and just ahead of Atletico Madrid.