There are takes, and “Barca’s Messi Debacle Shows Flaws of Fan-Owned Teams” is a take, for sure — one that hilariously appears at Bloomberg, of all places.
“Fans will always want the best players, no matter how expensive they are,” reads the subhed.
What horror! Fans wanting the best players to play for their teams. Won’t somebody please think of the financial flexibility?
There’s definitely been a heapin’ helpin’ of poor management to get Barca to the point where the greatest player in the history of one of the biggest teams in the history of world sports… is heading out the door.
To pin it on the problem being that Barcelona isn’t run by some rich jerk? Please.
Ask a Cubs fan how that’s working out, or pretty much anyone who has seen their favorite team put a worse product on the field because there’s a sweet spot of being just competitive enough to maximize profits.
Since Messi debuted at Barcelona, the Spanish giants have won 10 La Liga titles, seven Copas del Rey, seven Supercopas, three UEFA Super Cups, three FIFA Club World Cups, and, of course, four Champions League titles. Yes, in the past two seasons, only a singular Copa del Rey has been added to the trophy cabinet, but that hardly invalidates having spent the better part of two decades surrounding arguably the best soccer player ever to walk the earth with exceptional talent, no matter (gasp) the price.
Would it be better if Barcelona had taken a more businesslike approach over that time, with Messi earning a place in sports history as soccer’s Mike Trout? Of course not. The entire era was totally worth it, and any Barcelona fan would do the same thing all over again.
Messi having a non-Barcelona chapter of his career is a shock, but Barcelona still should be seen as a model for how sports teams should be run, not a cautionary tale. If you’re looking for one of those, Stan Kroenke is always available.