Barcelona’s horror decline 100 days since Lionel Messi’s shock exit… from mammoth debt and empty stadium to Luuk de Jong

BARCELONA are in the midst of an enormous decline and have had a nightmare 100 days since Lionel Messi left for Paris Saint-Germain.

The Catalans have crippling debts in excess of £1BILLION, sacked their manager, lost El Clasico and have won just six of their last 16 matches.


Messi was forced to leave his beloved Barca after 21 years as a result of LaLiga's refusal to budge on their salary rules.

Their stance meant the Nou Camp giants could not afford the 34-year-old's wages and he signed for the French giants just days later.

It has been one catastrophe after another for the Catalan giants since.

And here SunSport explores the catalogue of disasters that have taken place in the last 100 days.

REPLACED GRIEZMANN WITH LUUK DE JONG

In one of the most shambolic transfers of all time, Barca let Antoine Griezmann go back to Atletico on a season-long loan and included a £34.4m option-to-buy.

That came just two years after they paid Atleti £107M to bring the Frenchman the other way – and handed him a deal in excess of £500,000-a-week.

As if a £73M loss on the deal wasn't bad enough, Barca then replaced the 30-year-old with Newcastle flop Luuk de Jong.

SALARY CAP SLASHED

After LaLiga calculated restrictions on spending, Barca's salary cap was slashed by £245m, leaving them with just £85m.

Failure to keep Messi was questioned despite the club making a £400m loss last season, to rack up £1billion of debt.

The salary cap was calculated with each club's profit and losses, leading to the Blaugrana's dropping from £591m in 2019-20 to £330m last season – and then by a further £245m for 2021-22.

CRIPPLING DEBTS OF £1.15BN

In August Barca's economic crisis was laid bare by Joan Laporta, as it reached £1.15billion of debt.

The Blaugrana chief detailed how he was immediately forced to take out a £68million Goldman Sachs loan simply to pay the players' salaries.

After a debt restructuring of £475m, the total amount owed by the club has topped £1.15bn.

RONALD KOEMAN SACKED

After a miserable start to the season, Dutchman Ronald Koeman was sacked and left Barca in ninth.

And to add to their financial woes, it was claimed he would receive £10m in compensation.

Club legend Xavi has since returned to the Nou Camp as manager, and arrived with his side 11 points off shock league leaders Real Sociedad.

SERGIO AGUERO'S HEART SCARE

Sergio Aguero joined on a free from Manchester City this summer but in only his fifth game disaster struck for the 33-year-old.

The striker suffered breathing problems against Alaves and was forced off  taken to hospital for heart tests.

Aguero is now said to be considering his playing future.

WON JUST SIX OF LAST 16 GAMES

After 12 games, Barca have only 17 points following four wins, five draws and lost three.

They have also won two in the Champions League and lost the other two, including a 3-0 thumping to Bayern Munich.

Before being sacked, Koeman had the lowest points-per-game total at Barca since 2003.

LOST EL CLASICO TO REAL MADRID

Koeman's fortunes could have turned around in October with a win in the mother of all derbies.

But instead, he was inflicted further misery as goals from David Alaba and Lucas Vasquez put the game beyond doubt.

A smaller nugget of positivity came seven minutes into stoppage time, as Aguero scored his first goal in Barca colours.

OUT OF LALIGA TITLE RACE

In March 2004, Real Madrid were 12 points clear at the top of the table, but lost seven of their last eight games, finishing fourth as Valencia won.

But with Barca now 11 points adrift the table toppers, it is unlikely lightening will strike twice.

Instead, their focus is sure to be guaranteeing Champions League qualification.

THRASHED IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Barca have won their last two Champions League games, two separate wins over Dynamo Kiev.

But they opened their campaign with a pair of 3-0 thrashings, to the hands of Bayern and Benfica.

The hammering by Bayern even came in front of the Nou Camp faithful.

FANS LEAVING IN DROVES

Following Messi's dramatic departure, fans made their feeling known and hung banners in protest outside the stadium.

Barca's draw against Alaves drew a crowd of just  37,278, their lowest attendance for more than 20 years.

In August, the struggling Catalans failed to sell out even half of their stadium for the LaLiga clash with Valencia.

NOU CAMP FALLING TO BIT

The Nou Camp is in such a bad condition thatvice-president Elena Fort says they are not even allowed to turn on the ovens inside the stadium.

The club is preparing renovation work on their tired old stadium, with many issues in need of repair.

As well as caterers being unable to use ovens, light panels are monitored during matches to make sure a fuse is not blown.

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