Robert Lewandowski is the man of the moment in LaLiga. The Polish striker is one of the new signings of Futbol Club Barcelona to try to dethrone Real Madrid, who added the Champions League title to their triumph in the Spanish soccer league last season.
Barcelona have become the team in Europe that has spent the most in the last season, investing some 150 million euros (155.21 million dollars) to sign Lewandowski from Bayern Munich, Brazilian winger Raphinha from Leeds United and defender Jules Koundé from Sevilla.
It also signed defender Andreas Christensen from Chelsea and midfielder Franck Kessié from AC Milan as free agents, moves that only became possible after the club sold a 35% stake in its LaLiga television rights for the next few years. 25 years, as well as 25% of its audiovisual business for some 638 million euros.
However, due to a deep financial crisis aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to LaLiga’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, Barça is still unable to register its new players. players before the start of the season, which will take place on Saturday against Rayo Vallecano.
Barca are in a race against time to activate one last financial lever, along with their bid to sell Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong, which would allow them to get the green light from LaLiga to register their new signings.
The deadline is August 31, when the transfer period ends.
Barcelona have also signed striker Ousmane Dembélé to a new contract to end a three-year title drought, although the Frenchman scored just one goal in 21 league games last season.
His last triumph in LaLiga was in 2019, closing more than a decade of dominance in the domestic competition, which had Lionel Messi as its talisman and which also included three Champions League trophies.
But in recent seasons Barca have struggled with an aging squad, expensive signings that fell short of expectations and a financial crisis that prevented them from offering Messi a new contract, allowing the Argentine to join Paris Saint Germain last year. past as a free agent.
The team regained its pride on the pitch last season, after being knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage, and finished second in the League, with a club legend, Xavi Hernández, as the new manager.
Xavi, who won several trophies with the club between 1998 and 2015, brought some optimism to a disillusioned fans, who now have in Lewandowski the idol they were missing after Messi’s departure.
That feeling of hope brought 86,000 fans to the Camp Nou last weekend to see Barcelona thrash Mexico’s Pumas (6-0) in their last pre-season friendly before their home opener against Rayo Vallecano. The club expects tickets for the occasion to sell out.