No Baena Barca compensation, court rules
The Spanish Supreme Court has ruled that Espanyol midfielder Raul Baena does not have to pay Barcelona the €3.5 million they had wanted as compensation for him breaking a youth contract and leaving in 2007.
Baena, 23, joined Barca's La Masia youth academy in 2002 at the age of 13. But in the summer of 2007 he decided to move across the city to join Espanyol, with just €30,000 being paid in compensation.
On Thursday, Spain's highest court found Baena had not been bound by the ten-year contract his parents signed with Barcelona in 2002 - which had contained a €3 million release clause - because someone so young could not be tied to such a long-lasting professional agreement.
The ruling put an end to a four-year legal saga. In January 2009, a court in Barcelona ruled that the Blaugrana should receive €500,000 compensation because Baena had unilaterally broken his contract.
Both parties appealed, and Spain's Audiencia Provincial ruled in April 2010 that Barca should receive €3.5 million plus legal costs.
Neither the player nor Barcelona have so far commented on Thursday's Supreme Court decision which, as reported in Barcelona newspaper La Vanguardia, was based on a young person's right to determine their career.
"The constitutional and supranational principle of protecting the interests of a minor must be given special protection by law," the judgment said. "[The minor has] the right to decide their own professional future."