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The Lionel Messi effect? Barcelona struggle to fill Camp Nou for Champions League tie

Lionel Messi

Barcelona’s tricky summer

FC Barcelona have had a very tricky summer, losing Antoine Griezmann, Miralem Pjanic and Emerson Royal this summer.

In addition, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets all took wage cuts in order to allow new signings to be registered for the 2021/22 season, with the club in huge financial trouble.

The biggest blow, however, came in the form of the loss of Lionel Messi, who the club could not register due to salary cap restrictions in the Spanish league. As a result, the Argentine, widely considered the greatest footballer of all time, departed the club he had played for since he was a child, joining Paris Saint Germain on a free transfer.

The implications of Messi’s departure?

As per Spanish economist Ivan Cabeza, the departure of Messi could have cost Barca millions, saying:

“Annually he must generate between 130 million [euros], minimum, and 200 million, maximum,”

However, there could yet be a bigger issue for the club, coming in the form of a failure to fill their own stadium, even for the biggest matches.

The Lionel Messi effect? Barcelona struggle to fill Camp Nou for Champions League tie

BARCELONA, SPAIN – MAY 01: Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during the UEFA Champions League Semifinal match between FC Barcelona and FC Liverpool at Camp Nou on May 01, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

Spanish outlet MARCA revealed that:

“Of a 40,000 ticket quota for home fans, only 31,213 tickets were requested by Barcelona fans for the visit of Bayern Munich [In the Champions League].” 

This is not an isolated incident either, with the league attendances suffering too:

“Of 20,000 seats available for the LaLiga Santander clash, only 19,136 were requested, and this looks like continuing for much of the season.”

With fans now allowed back in the stadium for the first time in 18 months, it was thought that the stadium would be sold out regularly.

However, it appears that Luuk de Jong and Martin Braithwaite are no match for Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann.

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This article was edited by Josh Barker.