It’s very rare that a football club player talks about the finances and revenue of the club, but Gerard Pique is more than a player. The Barcelona centre-back is a business acumen and to be a future Barcelona president. And when you sit to talk with a business Magazine editor, the business sense comes naturally. Talking to Fortune Magazine, Pique told them that Barcelona will be first €1billion revenue club and they’ll achieve it before 2020/21 campaign.
When asked, “How high salaries go before they become a real problem for clubs? The president of FC Barcelona [Josep Maria Bartomeu] tells me there are a lot of worries about inflation. You are an example yourself with your new contract. Are we getting to a point where there will be very, very few clubs that can have players like yourself”?
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 8, 2018
Pique told, “It’s true that it has been a big inflation in the last few years. Football is growing and every time there are more people following this sport. TV rights are very important and right now because of the internet, because of streaming, because of companies like Amazon, Facebook, etc., they want to buy the TV rights of La Liga, of the Champions League. They are bidding to get these rights. This means more money for leagues. And more money for clubs. Barcelona is increasing their budget every year. Right now we are at €700m (about $866 million a year). When I arrived here 10 years ago maybe it was half of this. They are expected we will be at $1 billion in 2021, 2020.”
He adds, “There will be a point I think where this increase (wage inflation) will be lower, and we will keep growing, but not as quick as we are doing right now. And then I think is when clubs will realize that maybe it’s enough to pay as much as we are doing right now in salaries.
But if you want to keep talent, and you want to keep the best players in the world in your club, we have to compete with all the other clubs that they are investing. They are offering much more money, and we have to be with the same numbers as them.”
He also revealed about how the club is owned by its members and board members don’t get paid for their work. He wants to run the club differently as he said, “Barcelona is obviously growing as a club. Every time our budget is higher and higher. And I think we have to work as a big company. You need board members and the people who are running the club to be really focused on the club.”
“Right now I know they are fully focused, but they don’t earn any money. This is something that I think, it’s not a mistake, but I think this is something that has to be changed. Because at the end of the day if you are giving a lot of time and a lot of effort to run the club, you deserved to be paid, because you are investing a lot of time which may be used for other things. This is something that maybe has to be changed in the future, and it has to be decided by the members.”
However, Pique avoids his take on Catalonia independence and he lightly answers about being future Barcelona’s President. He said, “I remember a few years ago they said I wanted to be president of this club. Obviously, it is something that I want to achieve at some point. But it is not something I want to do just after I retire. In this world [of football] we can see in the last few years everything is changing so fast. So what will happen in four years? Maybe I will stay these four years here and renew again my contract. Maybe I will leave before then. You never know.”