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The departure of Lionel Messi really felt like the closing of a chapter at FC Barcelona and one that if we are honest, has been difficult to watch.
For a generation of football fans, we have been all to used to their star studded line-ups, evolutionary football and of course, breathtaking moments of brilliance from their former star man and captain but these days seem to be slipping away quickly.
The demise of the spell of dominance in which Pep Guardiola was the catalyst can be measured by the value of the current squad. According to Sport, the value of Ronald Koeman's group of players now amounts to just under £700 milion. Now that is still an awful lot of money, but when you consider that three years ago in the 2017-18 season where Messi and Luis Suarez were delivering the goods in a side that won the club's last LA Liga title, that was worth next to £1.15 billion meaning that in total, the club have lost around £470 million in total of player assets.
Now of course, the sale of Lionel Messi itself from that era a short period ago equates for a lot of that. As it happens the Argentine left on a free-transfer but had he signed a new contract at the Nou Camp, who knows what a rival club from across Europe would have had to pay to get him. Luis Suarez, who also didn't want to leave the club, was forced to due to the financial constraints in place. Elsewhere from that 2017-18 squad, Andreas Iniesta who like Messi was produced at La Masia has now retired after a spell in Japan, Ivan Rakitic went to Sevilla and trio Lucas Digne, Andres Gomes and Yerri Mina all departed to Everton.
No disrespect to the new no.10 Ansu Fati, Martin Braithwaite and Memphis Depay but they are not on the level of Messi, Suarez and his new Athletico Madrid teammate Antoine Griezmann who joined Barca in 2019. Fati is indeed a player who can develop, as are his teammates Frenkie De Jong and Pedri but it will take a lot for them to make up the value of their last championship winning team and it makes you think, how much would Guardiola's team of Puyol, Xavi and co been worth in their prime?
Featured Image Credit: FC Barcelona
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