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BARCELONA | ZUBIZARRETA

Barça splashed out 442M on 16 players during the Zubi era

Barça splashed out 442M on 16 players during the Zubi era

He joined Barça’s technical department in July 2010 during Sandro Rosell’s tenure. Adriano was his first signing, Vermaelen, his last.

Andoni Zubizarreta’s time as part of FC Barcelona’s technical department is at an end and now is as good a moment as any to analyze his labours. His declarations to Canal+ after Sunday’s game at Anoeta, in which he pointed the finger at Josep María Bartomeu for understanding the situation which led to the FIFA ban better than anyone else, was the nail in the coffin for the 53-year-old. It was former President Sandro Rosell who handed Zubizarreta the role of Barça’s Director of Sport in July 2010. The move was considered a compromise towards Pep Guardiola, who had got on well with the previous man in the position, Txiki Bergiristain.

During his four and a half years in charge of the technical department, Zubi had to contend with the Neymar case, Leo Messi’s constant contract revisions, Tito Vilanova’s illness (which forced the club to seek a replacement, Tata Martino, just days before the start of the season), the subsequent death of Vilanova, Sandro Rosell’s resignation and above all else, hostility from outside the club for botched operations in transfer dealing or reinforcements not making the grade.

In total, during the Zubi era, Barcelona spent 441.3 million euros on signings: Villa (40 million euros), Mascherano (22), Adriano (10) and Afellay (3) in the 2010/11 season; Cesc (34) and Alexis Sánchez (27) in 2011/12; Song (19) and Jordi Alba (14) in 2012/13; Neymar (at the moment, the fee stands at 115.3 millones pending a fine for tax avoidance which could oscillate between 9.1 to 54.6 million) in the 2013/14 season; and Luis Suárez (81), Rakitic (18), Bravo (12) Douglas (4,5), Mathieu (20), Ter Stegen (12) and Vermaelen (10) ahead of the 2014/15 campaign.

Added to that figure, are various add-ons and variables – a frequent practice at Barcelona which could boost the club’s outgoings to close to 500 million.

A number of the operations endorsed by Zubizarreta clearly didn’t work out – to name just a few: Affelay, Cesc, Alexis, Song, Douglas and Vermaelen; the latter arrived injured and has yet to make his debut. Others did, for example Mascherano, Jordi Alba, Claudio Bravo and David Villa. A few cases had nothing to do with him – the departures of Thiago, Cesc, Ibrahimovic and Yayá Touré were out of Zubizarreta’s control.

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