Football is a lucrative sport with a lot of financial benefits, but on the other hand, it is expensive to run, especially at club level.
Clubs always try to ensure that every form of financial commitment ranging from player transfers, wages, taxes, facilities, etc., are being managed efficiently without incurring huge debts.
But it is extremely difficult for clubs (especially those competing at the highest level) to stay totally debt-free.
Financial advisor Deloitte, have announced their yearly report of clubs with the most debts.
According to Deloitte, Barcelona have the most debt among all of the top clubs in football in 2022. The Catalans owe a staggering amount of €1.35B in debt, primarily due to gross financial mismanagement and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 affected all football clubs to the extent that some clubs were planning to create a Super League.
Furthermore, according to Deloitte’s report, only 4 European clubs are debt-free in 2022. Manchester City, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, and Leicester City are the only clubs with zero debt in the new report.
Despite their recent financial and ownership struggles, Chelsea have quite managed to stay debt-free going into the new Toed Boehly-led administration.
TOP SOCCER BLOG brings you the list of the top 10 football clubs with the most debts in the year 2022.
1. Barcelona (€1.35B)
Barcelona’s financial struggles in recent times have been well-documented, with the Blaugranas famously being unable to extend Lionel Messi’s contract last summer due to insufficient space on their wage bill. Barca president Joan Laporta revealed in August 2021 that the Barcelona’s debts had risen to a whopping €1.35 billion.
Barca’s debts includes about €390m in player salaries, over €670m owed to banks, while the coronavirus pandemic cost them approximately €91m (£78m/$96m).
Barcelona had to offload some players last summer to accommodate newer ones, and it won’t be surprising if the same method is adopted this summer.
2. Juventus (€900m)
It is somehow surprising to see Juventus on this list despite the club offloading Cristiano Ronaldo last summer and their owners pumping a lot of money to boost their finances, but the Old Lady have racked up a massive €900 million debt.
Finishing 4th in Serie A at the end of the season didn’t help matters as well. Juve are performing terribly on and off the pitch.
3. Tottenham (€826m)
3rd on the list of the football clubs with the most debts in 2022 is Tottenham Hotspurs, and it is not surprising… why?
Tottenham’s massive revolutionary stadium that was opened in 2019 cost around €1bn to build. The club haven’t achieved significant success on the pitch to enable them to pay back much of the loan incurred to build their home ground.
The North London club had incurred debt from the construction of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic mean that money is relatively tight at the club.
But with Antonio Conte as manager, it might not take long for Spurs to start achieving success.
4. Inter Milan (€702m)
Although Inter made a lot of money from selling the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi at huge fees last summer, their financial mismanagement in the past is still haunting them.
But should the Nerrazzuri continue with the kind of success they have achieved in the last two seasons, it won’t be long before they pay off or significantly reduce their debts.
5. AC Milan (€666m)
Newly crowned Serie A champions, AC Milan, are in a similar situation to their city rivals, Inter. But the recent takeover of the Rossoneri by an American investment firm, RedBird Capital Partners, will greatly help them.
6. Real Madrid (€662m)
Real Madrid may be La Liga and European champions, but they are in huge debt. Real operate on a very expensive model — especially in terms of transfers and wages.
Covid-19 also hit them hard, and its not surprising that they were among the foremost clubs pushing for the establishment of a Super League.
7. Arsenal (€625m)
Arsenal have an owner who doesn’t spend excessively. Thus, the club operate on a model that largely depends on their performances in European tournaments, especially the UEFA Champions League.
But the Gunners’ inability to qualify for the Champions League in the last 5 years has greatly affected their finances, and its not surprising that they are in huge debt.
Worryingly for their fans, Mikel Arteta’s side failed to qualify for next season’s Champions League despite holding the advantage towards the end of the just concluded league season.
8. Atletico Madrid (€523m)
Atletico Madrid have been ambitious in the last few years and are trying to truly establish themselves as a force to reckon with in Europe — this was most exemplified by their construction of the magnificent and world-class Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
Atletico also spent hugely on top players to take their performances to the next level, but Diego Simeone’s side are inconsistent and seems to always lose their heads under intense pressure — especially in the UEFA Champions League.
Athletico needs to start performing consistently on the pitch to match their spending off the pitch, or else their debts will keep piling up.
9. Manchester United (€420m)
Manchester United are one of the biggest football clubs in the world, which means they generate a lot of revenue through various means.
The Red Devils have been spending lavishly in the transfer market to replicate the success of the Sir Alex Ferguson era but have been unable to do so.
Players recruited to Old Trafford on huge sums have terribly underperformed — this is most illustrated by the recent departure of Paul Pogba (who was signed as the most expensive player in the world) on a FREE!!!
10. Liverpool (€386m)
Liverpool have been very successful under Jurgen Klopp in terms of performances, trophies, and transfers. But the Reds are still in debt which is why they are struggling to tie down their most important players, who are deservedly demanding for significantly improved contracts.
The futures of the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are in doubt, with the latter looking increasingly likely to depart Anfield this summer.