FC Barcelona is set to lose much more than just their captain now that they have confirmed Lionel Messi's exit. Despite becoming free of his salary, the Catalan giants are set to lose much more in terms of commercial revenue.
Last Thursday, Barcelona announced that Lionel Messi will no longer be part of the club moving forward. The exit became inevitable after they failed to register his proposed new contract owing to their inability to get within La Liga Santander's Financial Fair Play regulations.
Needless to say, Messi's departure is a big blow both on and off the pitch. Ronald Koeman will now have to rebuild a squad that has been fully expecting to be led by the Argentine. They have lost their captain, who is also regarded as one of the best players in the world.
Off the pitch, the Blaugrana are set to lose so much more. Even though they will no longer have to pay his salary, Messi is also leaving on a free transfer after becoming a free agent when his contract with the club expired on June 30. That means Barcelona lost out on what could have been a massive transfer fee had he allowed him to leave last summer.
Likewise, Messi's salary was very much justified by the amount of commercial revenue he brings to Barcelona's coffers each year. Numerous sponsors are connected with the club largely on the premise that Messi will be available for their advertising campaigns.
According to financial website Brand Finance, FC Barcelona stand to lose up to 137 million euros due to the departure of Messi. The decoupling of the Argentine's name from that of the club will slash their brand value by 11%.
In comparison, the most valuable club in the world, Real Madrid, also suffered financially after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo back in 2018. Los Blancos reportedly lost 19% of their brand value after the departure of the Portuguese star.
The difference is, Real Madrid is not over a billion euros in debt like FC Barcelona. Furthermore, they were at least able to gain 100 million euros in transfer fees paid by Juventus FC to acquire Ronaldo.
In comparison, Barcelona have gained nothing from Messi's transfer and revenues lost from merchandise sales alone can set them back by up to 77 million euros.
Barcelona also failed to sell their other top earning players, meaning their wage bill will still be heavily inflated in the coming season. They refused to accept below-value offers for certain players, despite interest coming from other clubs. Now, they are going to be left with a debt that only appears to be growing even bigger. It remains to be seen how Joan Laporta and his board can turn things around.