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La Liga's debt burden


La Liga's new season starts next season with its clubs shouldering a bigger debt burden than the English Premiership.  According to figures compiled by Professor Jose Maria Gay of the University of Barcelona, La Liga's 20 clubs have a total debt of £3.04bn.   The total debt of the English Premiership's clubs is estimated at £2.2bn with almost a third of that accounted by Manchester United's £761m.

In Spain Real Madrid has the largest debt, £589m.  Valencia is second with £774m, Atletico de Madrid third with £441 and Barcelona fourth with £422m.    Barcelona earned £367m in the 12 months to June, but still lost a record £63m.   Indeed, it had to take out a bank loan of £128m last month to pay wages.   The club is now aiming for a net maximum transfer spend of £41m a year, but that will not be easy to achieve.

In some ways Valencia have been hit harder than Barcelona or Real Madrid.  They had to sell their best players last season.  Banks keep lending to Barcelona and Real Madrid because they are seen as part of the fabric of Spanish society.   Real Madrid is associated with the country's establishment while Barcelona is an expression of the pride of Catalonia.