JUST IN: Barcelona forced to shell out eye-watering sum to release ‘richest player’ from contract

JUST IN: Barcelona forced to shell out eye-watering sum to release ‘richest player’ from contract

Barcelona paid a one-off lump sum payment to striker Martin Braithwaite for him to terminate his contract at the Camp Nou ahead of joining Catalan rivals Espanyol

Martin Braithwaite has joined Espanyol after being released by Barcelona

Barcelona were forced to give striker Martin Braithwaite – their ‘richest player’ – a one-off payment of €400k (£345k) to terminate his contract at the Camp Nou.

It means that Braithwaite’s time at the Catalan giants cost the club just shy of €30million, as they signed the player in an €18million transfer from Leganes in February 2020 with the Denmark international earning €4million per annum at the club.

The club had been desperately trying to offload him before the close of the transfer window before confirming on Thursday, transfer deadline day, that he would be leaving the club as a free agent after the two had come to an agreement over the termination of his deal. He is now joining Catalan rivals Espanyol.

The striker had two years remaining on his Barca contract with the one-off gross payment an agreement for a percentage of the first of his final two contracted seasons, equating to roughly 10 per cent of his contract with the club for this season.

Braithwaite controversially joined Barca in February 2020 from Leganes, when the deal was concluded outside the transfer window as an ’emergency’ signing following injuries. Leganes could not reject the deal as his release clause had been met by Barcelona, while they were not able to sign a replacement as they did not have an ’emergency’ injury situation. Leganes were relegated to the second division that campaign following the mid-season departure of their star player.

The striker struggled for a regular starting spot at Barca across his time with the club, scoring 10 goals across 58 appearances – and has featured since once under boss Xavi Hernandez since his appointment in November 2021.

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Martin Braithwaite is Barcelona’s ‘richest player’ due to his off-field interests
Braithwaite had been Barcelona’s ‘richest player’ due to his off-field interests

The 31-year-old has put pen to paper on a three-year contract at Espanyol, allowing him to remain in his Catalonia base. Espanyol are the second Catalan club in Spain’s top flight, with the duo being joined by Girona this campaign.

One of the most eye-catching details of Braithwaite’s stay at the Camp Nou was that – following Lionel Messi’s departure from the club in the summer of 2021 – he had become the richest player in the first-team squad.

Braithwaite had been earning around £4million per season at the Camp Nou, but that represents only a fraction of the former Middlesbrough striker’s wealth portfolio. The Danish international boasts an impressive portfolio of investments within the real estate, fashion and restaurant industries.

In 2020, Forbes outlined how the striker became the richest player at Barca following Lionel Messi’s exit that year. The majority of Braithwaite’s wealth (£714,298) is derived from his investment in the real estate business NYCE, in which he is a partner alongside his uncle, Phillip Michael. The company’s website boasts approximately £252million in assets under management, including a real estate portfolio believed to be worth around £210m..TAP.TO.CONTINUE.READING

Braithwaite – who also co-owns clothing business ‘Trente’ alongside French entrepreneur, journalist and TV personality Anne-Leure Louis – has a property portfolio which includes homes in New York, Philadelphia, Jersey City and San Antonio. The striker also owns the restaurant ‘Gave’, which is located within Barcelona.

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