Real Madrid and Barcelona. Night and day. Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi. Two ways of understanding football and management of the two biggest clubs in the world. The reasons behind many unpopular decisions taken by Florentino Perez have been justified. The sale of Cristiano Ronaldo, zero signings in the last 20 months and salary cuts were painful and traumatic decisions, but necessary ones.
The harsh reality is now being seen by Barcelona, who are now unable to manoeuvre. Logic left the Camp Nou a long time ago and has only returned since the election of Joan Laporta, who has discovered a bleak outlook, without any margin to be able to comply with the rules of a game in which everyone must participate under equal conditions, no matter how much flexibility has been requested by some presidents.
In recent years, Barcelona have been unable to let go of unrealistic scenarios. They believed that everything was worth it, but are now seeing the harsh reality of their mismanagement.
In February 2018, Cristiano Ronaldo wanted a pay rise to what he believed to be fair, in line with his contribution. From that meeting came a price tag on his head for 100 million euros. A painful decision, but inevitable for the future of Real Madrid.
“We cannot hand over the club to a player” was heard on more than one occasion from the offices at Real Madrid. The fans did not understand what was happening, but now they do.
Leo Messi departs Barcelona without a leaving a cent of income for the club. Everyone has contributed to this situation: some for wanting to keep him last summer when he wanted to leave, when they could’ve made a big sale, and others for not fully understanding the real situation of the club.
Now Barcelona are faced with reconstructing their team in the absence of their greatest ever player. It certainly won’t be easy, as Real Madrid know, but Barcelona must move forward, regardless of how painful it might be. There is no other option.