By Tim Stannard
LaLiga's president gives Barcelona some tough talking on dire financial situation
Sussing out Barcelona isn't just about having a look at the roster and predicting the stage in which the club will be eliminated in the Champions League. It also takes the economic wiles of a dodgy-dealing, Blackberry-clutching Big City hedge fund investor too.
Barca is definitely 'more than a club' now. It's a corporation - a corporation with over a billion dollars in debt and one that is set to take on a loan of around $700 million just to keep the lights on. It's also frantically trying to keep hold of its most important asset. And it's most expensive one too.
Lionel Messi is a contracted Barcelona player for just three more days. On Thursday, the Argentinean is fancy-free and single. The 34-year-old will switch from being 'Barcelona's Lionel Messi' to just...'Lionel Messi'.
While negotiations are ongoing to avoid this scenario, the LaLiga president, Javier Tebas, has explained the general awfulness of Barcelona's financial situation and how hard it will be to keep Messi, even if a deal is struck with the player on a new contract.
"If Barca sell a player for $100million, they can only spend $25million," said Tebas breaking it all down and explaining Barca's four-for-one economic formation. "They have to reduce salaries in the squad considerably or produce fees from sold players," continued Tebas, explaining that Barca's wage cap imposed on all clubs by LaLiga had been breached and was currently sailing 40% too high.
Those wages were recently increased by both Sergio Aguero and Memphis Depay joining up. This means that some big fish need to be let go. And that currently looks like Antoine Griezmann, who is with the French squad at Euro 2020 and preparing for a Last-16 match against Switzerland.
Despite a less than stellar spell at Barcelona trying to fit in with Messi-world, Griezmann is reportedly on Manchester City's radar, as a back-up signing if the English champions cannot land Harry Kane from Tottenham.
However, it is hard to see how even a bumper fee for Griezmann could even come close to paying for Messi, especially with transfer fees deflated in the post-COVID world. An awful lot of other players will need to go as well to keep both Messi on the books and Barcelona afloat.
Serena Williams says no to the Olympic Games
From the immediate future of a 34-year-old living legend of soccer to the immediate future of a 34-year-old living legend of tennis - Novak Djokovic.
Wimbledon 2021 began on Monday after a taking a COVID-enforced year out. Of course, the day began with dampness and drizzle to taunt those currently suffering under the North-West heat dome over in the US.
Five-times Wimbledon champion, Djokovic, is the very heavy favorite in the men's bracket to win a third tournament in a row. No player other than the Serb, nor Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer or Andy Murray has won the men's title since 2002.
A thirty-nine-year-old living legend in the women's bracket is also in action on London with Serena Williams still chasing a record-breaking 24th Grand Slam title. However, news of what Serena will be doing next month dominated the news on Monday with the announcement that she would not be competing at the Tokyo Olympics. "There's a lot of reasons that I made my Olympic decision," said Williams, "I don't really want to - I don't feel like going into them today. Maybe another day. Sorry."