Managing Barcelona on Football Manager 2023 is a whole new experience.
The Blaugrana are an elite side who have been hamstrung by their own financial incompetence, leaving you the job of rebuilding an ageing, expensive side while simultaneously ensuring you remain competitive for the game's major honours. No pressure.
There's a lot to get your head around, but here are ten places to start.
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- The best free agents to sign on Football Manager 2023
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- The cheapest wonderkids to sign on Football Manager 2023
- The best staff to employ on Football Manager 2023
1. Give up on your Messi dream
Let's clear one thing up straight away. You're not re-signing Lionel Messi in 2023.
On FM23, Messi's contract runs until 2024, so he doesn't hit the free market after your first season, but his salary is also way too high to fit into your team anyway.
You might get him as an assistant manager one day, but his playing career at Camp Nou is almost certainly over.
2. Shift whatever salary you can
For all the good work Barcelona have claimed to do this past summer, the reality is they have really hampered you by handing out massive contracts to all their free agent signings.
The summer arrivals are making a combined £1.16m per week which you'll have to deal with, but with no money left for new wages or transfers, you might be forced into tough decisions on some other squad members.
It might be time to walk away from Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, while it's up to you whether Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati are part of your plans - maybe a loan for the latter?
3. Make decisions on the expiring contracts
2023 is a massive summer for Barcelona as there is a lot of salary coming off the books.
Players like Marcos Alonso and Hector Bellerin can be allowed to walk, while Inaki Pena and Sergi Roberto probably warrant new deals. As for Sergio Busquets, who is obviously coming to the end of his career, the decision is yours.
There is one player who you absolutely need to sell, however...
4. Sell Memphis Depay
Memphis is great. He's absolutely good enough to play for this club. However, the reality is he's one of the most valuable assets that you can replace for a low fee.
Selling him for big money would go a long way to helping ease the financial issues at Camp Nou, and there are plenty of viable backups to Robert Lewandowski that can be signed for cheap.
It's a shame for Memphis, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
5. Use Frenkie de Jong in the Busquets role
With Busquets now expendable, Frenkie de Jong is a ready-made replacement in defensive midfield.
The Dutchman has some excellent stats for a deep lying playmaker and doesn't need to be futher forward, where Pedri and Gavi are destined to be the future.
De Jong is your second-highest earner, so either make him a starter or sell him. Your choice.
6. Bolster the backroom
Barcelona have some outstanding fitness coaches but they're lacking in other areas.
Oscar Hernandez isn't the best assistant out there and there are definite upgrades on coach Sergio Alegre, who is the only general trainer you have in the senior squad.
Attacking and defensive coaches should be among your first hires.
7. Keep an eye on the academy
There isn't a whole lot of elite quality coming through the Barcelona academy, but Ilias Akhomach is destined to be a starter at Camp Nou.
The tricky forward is a long way off being ready as it stands but you don't want to block his pathway with expensive first-team signings once you get your finances in order.
Summer signing Pablo Torre is a superstar in the making as well, so be patient.
8. Loan out Alejandro Balde
Alejandro Balde is in that awkward spot in the first team. He's not really good enough to start for Barcelona in-game but he's too good to spend time with the academy.
You should find a temporary home for the 18-year-old left-back, who can cut his teeth with a smaller side and come back next year better-equipped to take the left-back spot from Jordi Alba.
With Alba growing older, you're going to need a replacement soon enough, so Balde's career is one to take seriously.
9. Loan Inaki Pena
Similarly, keeping Inaki Pena as your reserve goalkeeper behind Marc-Andre ter Stegen is pointless.
The 23-year-old stopper should be sent out on loan to a smaller La Liga side to play a full season, all while you snap up a dirt-cheap goalkeeper who is probably never going to play for you anyway.
When Pena comes back, he's still not going to be good enough to compete for your starting spot but he'll be significantly more valuable.
10. Start scouting a new right-back
There is one position in which Barcelona are facing real trouble in the coming years, and that's at right-back.
Hector Bellerin isn't going to cut it and Sergi Roberto still isn't actually a right-back, so finding somebody younger to fill the imminent void is a must.
Get your scouts around the world looking for the next defensive star, and by the time you can actually afford one, you should be well prepared.