Here’s another great stat I found online – the whole Barcelona starting XI cost less than Cristiano Ronaldo alone.
According to an article on the Telegraph, Barca’s usual starting line-up cost them 75 million pounds. Ronaldo, of course, became the most expensive player in the world when Real Madrid bought him for 80 million pounds.
When their whole starting line-up is combined, they have a combined transfer value of a whopping 255 million pounds – and that’s with Kaka – 56 million pounds – on the bench.
That’s not to say Barcelona haven’t been spending. They have been. In fact, some of their money has been quite poorly invested over the last few years.
We’ll start off with some of their expensive signings that have turned out well. Top of that list has to be David Villa, who at 40 million Euros is their second highest transfer ever, and quite a bargain considering what he brings to the team.
Right behind Villa on the list of most expensive transfers made by Barca is Dani Alves, the most expensive defender in the world.
His price tag back in 2008 was 23 million pounds + 7 million in performance related payments. That’s 30 million pounds for a right-back, during pre-Manchester City madness days. But he has emerged as arguably the best right-back in the world, so I guess you can say he was worth it.
Of course, there have been other transfers who weren’t so worth it.
Barca’s all-time record signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic cost the club a combined value of 56 million pounds (including the value of star striker Samuel Eto’o), and he lasted just one season, where he seemed about as interested in playing football as Dimitar Berbatov, before Barcelona decided to loan him to AC Milan.
They also paid 20 million pounds for defender Dmytro Chygrynskiy, who managed just 14 games and one season for the club before being sold back to Shakhtar Donestk, from whence he came, at a loss of 10 million Euro. Mind you, he cost just a few million less than Chelsea’s David Luiz, a much better representation of what a 20+ million pound defender should look like.
Going back a little more, former Arsenal playmaker Aleksander Hleb was brilliant in the Premier League, but never settled in Barcelona after his 15 million Euro transfer in 2008. He featured in just 19 league games that season, many from the bench, and failed to notch a single goal. He was loaned out to Stuttgart after one season.
Defender Gabriel Milito was signed for a rather hefty 20 million Euro, and has made less than 20 appearances in each of his last two seasons, though a serious knee injury three years ago did set his career back quite a bit.
Fellow center-back and 16.5 million Euro signing Martin Caceres also failed to live up to his price tag. Since arriving from Villareal in 2008, Caceres has played just 13 games for Barca. He was then loaned out to Juventus, who refused an option to make his stay permanent, and then to Sevilla, where he’s currently playing for a permanent move as well.
Even the great Thierry Henry, one of the best players ever in my opinion, turned out to be a totally underwhelming signing for Barcelona. He was an absolute steal at 24 million Euro, but I’m sure Barcelona were expecting more from him in terms of performances on the pitch.
They’ve had a slew of other just okay signings that were like Henry, but not as expensive: Seydou Keita, Maxwell, Javier Mascherano and most recently Ibrahim Afellay, who is reportedly already seeking a transfer away from Barca.
Anyway, the point is, disregarding the comparisons with super-spenders Real Madrid, in reality, Barcelona aren’t as cheap as they appear. They did after all try to sign Cesc Fabregas for around 30 million pounds in the summer.
Yes, their youth policy is fantastic, and their under-18 team can probably run rings around Wigan, but to say that they don’t spend money is simply not true.