Real Madrid’s spending limit for this 2021-22 season is almost eight times – or €650m (£562m) – higher than that of Barcelona’s, La Liga said on Wednesday.
The Spanish league allows teams to spend a certain amount on new players, signings, salaries, coaching staff and their academies relating to income and losses.
Barcelona, who are in a financial meltdown after reporting losses of €481m (£415.7m) earlier this year, have seen their spending power drop from €347m (£300m) per season to just under €98m (£84.7m).
Such a small limit helps explain the club’s decisions to allow Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to leave and their recent need to get senior players to agree to wage cuts.
Barça’s budget is also because of huge losses and breaches of spending limits over the past few years. The figure means they have almost €650m less to spend than Madrid, whose salary limit – the highest in La Liga by some distance – increased to almost €740m for this term, up from just under €470m last season.
Madrid’s figure is so high because of prudent financial management, as well as profits from player sales and coming in under budget in past seasons.
Their base budget was €428m, to which they added from their own reserves of funds a further €292m – which would have allowed them to sign the Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappé for a reported €200m and still have been within the league’s spending limits.
Barça and Madrid, like Athletic Bilbao, did not accept a cash injection from the private equity company CVC through La Liga in return for a percentage of their future broadcast rights.
Barcelona’s drop means that they only have the seventh-highest permitted wage bill in the top flight, behind Madrid, Sevilla, Atlético Madrid, Villarreal, Real Sociedad and Athletic.
The lowest budget in the league is Valencia’s €30m, with the club hit hard by the pandemic and their poor league performances resulting in a lack of European football.