Real able to spend almost eight times as much as Barca on squad

Catalan club’s drop means they only have the seventh-highest wage bill in the top flight

Barcelona allowed Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to leave in the close season. Photograph: Getty Images

Barcelona allowed Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to leave in the close season. Photograph: Getty Images

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Real Madrid’s spending limit for this 2021-22 season is almost eight-times (€650m) higher than that of Barcelona’s, LaLiga announced on Wednesday.

The Spanish football league, who have their own financial controls in place, allow teams to spend a certain amount on new players, signings, salaries, coaching staff and their academies relating to income and losses – with almost all sides impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Barça, who are in a financial meltdown after reporting losses of €481m earlier this year, have seen their spending power drop from €347m per season to just under €98m.

Such a small limit helps explain the Catalan club’s decisions to allow Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann leave in the close season, as well as their recent need to get senior players to agree to wage cuts.

Barça’s budget is also because of huge losses and breaches of spending limits over the past few years and the Camp Nou outfit have taken the decision to make this season’s losses as big as possible so they can increase their budget for next term.

That figure means they have almost €650m less to spend than Real, whose salary limit – the highest in LaLiga by some distance – increased to almost €740m for this term, up from just under €470m last year.

Real’s figure is so high because of prudent financial management, as well as profits from player sales and coming in under budget in past seasons.

Their base budget was €428m, to which they added from their own reserves of funds a further €292m – which would have allowed them to sign Paris St Germain striker Kylian Mbappe for a reported €200m and still have been within the league’s spending limits.

Neither Barça nor Madrid, as well as Athletic Bilbao, accepted a cash injection from private equity company CVC through LaLiga in return for a percentage of their future broadcast rights.

Barça’s drop means that they only have the seventh-highest permitted wage bill in the top flight, behind Real, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid, Villarreal, Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao.

Elsewhere, the lowest budget in the league is Valencia’s €30m, with Los Che hit hard by the pandemic and poor league performances resulting in a lack of European football.

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