Barcelona president Joan Laporta’s second term at Camp Nou could not have started any worse if he tried.
First of all, the former Spanish politician has been left to pick up the debris following Josep Bartomeu’s six-year spell as president of la Blaugrana.
Secondly, the 59-year-old has had to bid farewell to former Barça captain, Lionel Messi, perhaps the best player in the club’s history and one of the greatest footballers of all time.
And now, reports claim Messi’s recent departure has wiped €137 million off the club’s brand value following his emotional press conference on Sunday.
The Argentina superstar – who played with hamstring problems against Brazil in the Copa America final – told the watching world that joining Paris Saint Germain was ‘a possibility, but nothing is agreed’ as he sat down to speak to the media.
During his press conference, the Albiceleste forward was visibly overcome with emotion as he announced he will leave Barça after 11 years at the club.
And the club’s business revenue could drop slightly from €855 million to €778 million.
A report by Brand Finance claims the club could stand to lose up to €77 million of its yearly income – meaning the brand value of Barça could dip from €126 billion to €125 billion – a drop of €1 billion (£848 million).
South American football expert Roy Nemer summed it up rather nicely in a tweet that quickly went viral much to the dismay of Barça fans across the globe. The tweet has received well over 500 retweets and 2,000 likes at the time of writing.
“According to Brand Finance, Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona could cost the club €137 million in brand value,” he wrote on Twitter:
“They would lose €77 million in business revenue, €17 million on match days, and €43 million in T-shirt and merchandise sales.”
A spokesperson for Brand Finance added: “Messi is synonymous with the Barcelona brand and has been the club’s talisman since bursting onto the scene 15 years ago.
“His presence at the club has no doubt allowed it to attract additional fans, better players, managers, commercial deals, and win silverware.
“His departure can cost the club as much and result in a painful brand value decrease.”