Barcelona set sights on Premier League, targets €1 billion in annual income by 2021

Photo credit: AFP.

Photo credit: AFP.

Barcelona are aiming to become the world’s highest earning club in the next six years and are determined to counter England’s Premier League, club president Josep Maria Bartomeu said in an interview published Friday. The Spanish giants will make about 600 million euros ($658 million) this year, but Bartomeu told the Financial Times newspaper he was aiming to lift this to one billion euros ($1.1 billion) by 2021.

“We want to be the first club to reach one billion euros in revenues,” said Bartomeu, who won an election for a six-year term in July after Barcelona overcame team divisions to win the Champions League.

A Deloitte survey said that Real Madrid (549 million euros) and Manchester United (518 million) were the other top world soccer revenue earners in 2014.

SEE MORE: From Xavi to MSN: How Luis Enrique transformed Barcelona.

The president said he wants to increase Barcelona’s presence abroad and embark on a 600 million euro renovation of the 93,000 capacity Camp Nou stadium. It has one overseas office in Hong Kong and plans to open more in New York, Sao Paulo and Shanghai by 2017, Bartomeu said.

Barcelona, which is owned by its 145,00 members, also wants to set up its own university and move into women’s sports. But the Barcelona boss acknowledged that the shadow of England’s Premier League hangs over his club’s plans.

“Our rival is the Premier League. It is not a specific club, it is the strength of the Premier League itself,” Bartomeu said.

He insisted that Barcelona has the financial power to hold off any English challenge for its three top stars Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez. But Bartomeu said Barcelona academy teenagers were being lured by big money English offers.

“The 16-year-olds constantly receive offers from the Premier League that are very tempting. Every year there are some who go,” the Barcelona chief said.

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