A lot has changed in Spanish football since Pep Guardiola left Barcelona in the summer of 2012 – not least Real Madrid, who have once again ruled Europe. But how do the two eternal rivals fare during this period?
Jose Mourinho’s Madrid guided Barcelona into La Liga in Guardiola’s last season. But Barcelona had previously won three consecutive La Liga titles as well as two Champions League titles in three years – and three since Los Blancos won their ninth European Cup in 2002.
Under Guardiola’s former right-hand man Tito Vilanova, Barcelona made a vigorous return to the top of the Spanish top flight in 2012/13 and would later, with Luis Enrique at the helm, achieve a second treble in 2014/15.
In fact, Barcelona have continued to come out on top when it comes to domestic affairs over the past decade. They have won five of the last ten La Liga titles since Guardiola’s departure, three from Real Madrid and two from Atletico Madrid. The Catalan club have also won five Copa del Rey since 2012 while Madrid have had just one in that period.
But things have changed significantly in recent years. Barcelona haven’t won any of their last three league titles – they haven’t gone two years without a win since 2008. Financial turmoil has seen the greatest player in its history, Lionel Messi, leave the club.
The area that will really sting Barcelona fans is Madrid’s resurgence as the dominant force in European football. While they have held a Champions League crown since Guardiola’s departure, the capital side have won an unprecedented five in nine years – making them 14 in total, nine more than Barcelona.
When Guardiola left in 2012, Barcelona were still the most respected and feared team in European football. He left them a strong core of players and the club was in rude financial shape. Everything was set for them to dominate for many years to come. How did they lose their European crown to their most hated rivals? Not by overspending, that’s for sure.
Especially with Florentino Perez as president, Real Madrid have a well-established reputation as European royalty, building on a steady stream of glamorous signings. They haven’t been without their modern-day Galacticos – notably Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez – but their net spending over the last decade has been relatively modest at £141million.
Star names – and a core of players that already included Cristiano Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema – were complemented by smart buys like Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos, who formed the backbone of this new era of European dominance.
Madrid have also sold well, raking in nearly £800m in player sales and appearing to have timed themselves well to capitalize on and move from key players such as Ronaldo, Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil.
While Hazard proved a costly misstep for Madrid, Barcelona’s top three signings – Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann – each signed over £100m have not had the desired impact. They received a world record fee of over £200m for Neymar but categorically failed to effectively reinvest that money.
READ: Ranking the 10 worst signings of Bartomeu’s Barcelona presidency
Barcelona have spent almost £400m more on transfers than Madrid over the last decade and almost three times as much in net spend.
We’ve broken down the full figures provided to Transfermarkt below:
Five biggest buys
1. Eden Hazard – £103.50million
2. Gareth Bale – £90.90million
3. James Rodriguez – £67.50million
4. Luka Jovic – £56.70million
5. Eder Militato – £45.00m
Five Biggest Sales
1. Cristiano Ronaldo – £105.30million
2. Angel Di Maria – £67.50million
3. Alvaro Morata – £59.40million
4. Mesut Ozil – £42.30million
5. Mateo Kovacic – £40.50million
Total expenses: £940.6 million
Total sold: £799.2 million
Total net spend: £141.4 million
Five biggest buys
1. Ousmane Dembele – £126m
2. Philippe Coutinho – £121.50million
3. Antoine Griezmann – £108m
4. Neymar – £79.20million
5. Frenkie De Jong – £77.40million
Five Biggest Sales
1. Neymar – £199.8million
2. Arthur – £68.40million
3. Alexis Sanchez – £38.25million
4. Paulinho – £37.80million
5. Malcom – £36million
Total expenses: £1.329 billion
Total sold: £857 million
Total net spend: £472 million
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