Jordi Cruyff, the sporting director of FC Barcelona, claims that since players who “chose to follow their desire” rather than money arrived, “the city is alive again.”
Barcelona had a difficult season last year as they struggled with their £1.15 billion debt, which prompted them to allow legendary player Lionel Messi to join Paris St-Germain as a free agent.
After five games, Barcelona has not lost, and on Wednesday, Xavi’s team hammered Viktoria Plzen 5-1 in their Champions League debut.
Lewandowski, the former Fifa Player of the Year from Poland, who turned 34 in August, was perhaps Barca’s biggest acquisition even though they spent more on Raphinha and Jules Kounde.
Lewandowski announced his desire to leave Bayern with one year remaining on his contract, and once the German club agreed to accept offers, he reportedly made it obvious Barcelona was his preferred destination.
Lewandowski, who has eight goals in five games for Barcelona, will take on his former team Bayern Munich on Tuesday in the Champions League.
Last season, Barca were no match for Real Madrid, their bitter rivals, who easily won the Spanish championship and later added the Champions League due to Barcelona’s off-the-field issues and the team’s weakness.
Barcelona has not gone three years without taking home the league trophy since 2003–04.
However, the team was able to add several new players this summer, including Jules Kounde, Raphinha, and Robert Lewandowski.
Before the Cruyff Legacy Summit, where Arsene Wenger, Ronald Koeman, and Sarina Wiegman are due to speak, FC Barcelona sporting director Cruyff, told Spanish football expert Guillem Balague that Barcelona “has a magnet, it is beautiful.”
“When players get the chance to join Barcelona, you can feel the pride in their eyes, and that has helped a lot, being able to compete with clubs with higher resources and better incomes”, he said.
“They had greater offers than us, and we are extremely happy for these guys because they decided to join Barcelona.
“When you see the eyes glowing in these athletes, you know you are in a special place. And yet they continued to choose to pursue their desire to be a part of history.”
Cruyff continued, that the manager is doing a great job, and “The team has begun well”, noting that the club’s coach, Xavi “has a solid group to pick from”.
“The city is alive again if that keeps going in the right direction. The fact that [the Nou Camp] is sold out for even the smaller matches illustrates the atmosphere”, he added.
“You can tell that fans are ecstatic about the new players because you can feel the energy returning to the club, which is exactly what it needed.”
Barcelona was prohibited by La Liga’s financial fair play (FFP) regulations from signing Messi to a new deal because the team had debts totaling more than £1 billion.
Since they apply before rather than after any regulations are broken, they are more complicated than Uefa’s Financial Fair Play standards, giving La Liga teams advance knowledge of their spending limits. They also include Economic Control and Squad Cost Limit guidelines.
Additionally, it implies that if teams violate La Liga’s stringent FFP standards, the league may forbid them from signing new players.
According to Cruyff, 99% of individuals, “don’t grasp Spanish financial fair play, how to fit that piece.”
“Even if you have money, you can’t spend it because it is something you won’t be able to understand in one hour”, he added.
The club’s sporting director, Cruyff, claims that Mateu Alemany, the director of football, and the manager are his direct reports.
“I’ve got experience as a coach and a sporting director, and who knows? Maybe I’ll return to coaching one day”, he claimed.
“In Barcelona, the triangle consists of the head coach and his assistant, football director Mateu, who is an expert in financial fair play and a skilled negotiator, and me, who combines my knowledge of finances with that of a head coach.
“Barcelona is a unique club, but many clubs today lack the patience; it is very hard to discover it. Every club has short-term, medium-term, and long-term projects. My responsibility is to comprehend the near term while attempting to coordinate it with the medium term and, occasionally, the long term.”
Cruyff continued, “There is a thirst for more. It is not what Lewandowski says, it is what he displays, that he still has that passion to chase the ball at 3-0 up.
“All the players recognize this club can’t have many more seasons like last season, and they all have that knowledge.
“Players at this club are aware that they must perform. The reason the fans are there is that they sense the tension rising.”