Tag Archives: bartomeu

‘I couldn’t, I just couldn’t watch the best player in the world leave’ – Bartomeu on Messi

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Having refused to grant Lionel Messi’s wish to leave Barcelona last month, president Josep Maria Bartomeu is keen to move on.


Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted he had no interest in continuing a public spat with Lionel Messi despite the Barcelona captain’s criticism of his presidency.

Messi stunned the world last month when he informed Barça of his intention to depart the LaLiga giants, with the 33-year-old intending to trigger a clause in his contract to walk away on a free at the end of last season.

However, the validity of such a stipulation was murky due to the campaign being extended by the coronavirus pandemic, and Messi ultimately opted to remain in Catalonia rather than challenge Barcelona in a legal battle.

That did not prevent him from taking aim at Bartomeu in an interview with Goal, though, as he accused the president of reneging on his wish to leave and presiding over a club that had “no project or anything for a long time”.

“As president, I will not enter into any conflict with Messi,” Bartomeu told TV3. Messi is our captain, our leader. The issue is parked. What has been said has been said.

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“I couldn’t allow to let the best player in the world go. The team needs him, he guarantees success. Things have to be discussed at home. You have to support the team and the players.

“We have to congratulate ourselves that Messi is still with us. He is excited about [coach Ronald] Koeman’s project. The important thing is he plays for Barca, at his home. We want him to retire at the club.”

Messi’s contract expires at the end of the 2020-21 season anyway, though by that point Barcelona will have a different president as there are elections to replace Bartomeu next March.

However, Bartomeu, unpopular with some Barcelona fans due to his role in the Messi saga, may be forced out before then if he faces a vote of no confidence on the back of a motion to remove him, which has so far gathered more than 20,000 votes.

“Right now, no-one is considering resigning,” Bartomeu added. The club is not going to stop. I think everyone was surprised by the number of signatures but we respect democracy and the club’s laws.”


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Bye Bartomeu! As Vote of No confidence motion reaches necessary signature

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The motion of censure against Bartomeu and his board have reached the necessary signatures.


The promoters of the vote of no confidence against Josep Maria Bartomeu and the second board of directors have the signatures to advance to the next stage. They have planned to arrive at the 18,000 signatures by the end of the day.


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Bartomeu pleads with Messi’s father: Messi to stay

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Lionel Messi is close to admitting defeat in his battle to leave Barcelona for Manchester City, according to TyC Sports in Argentina.

Barcelona asked Messi’s father Jorge to help persuade his son to reconsider his attempt to force his way out of the club, in a 90-minute meeting on Wednesday night.

With neither side appearing willing to back down the stalemate looked set to continue but message has been relayed to the Barcelona captain and he is understood to be considering his options on Thursday.

Several media in Argentina, who first reported that Messi had sent a Burofax to Barcelona requesting a free-transfer, even suggested he was now ’90 per cent likely to stay’.

Messi would carry on until June 2021 – effectively admitting defeat in the battle to prove his deadline for informing the club he wanted to leave should have been moved back because the pandemic delayed the end of the season.

The latest development came after Jorge Messi arrived in Barcelona from Argentina on Wednesday morning and began the day saying it would be ‘difficult’ for his son to stay at Barcelona. He was asked by Cuatro Deportes in Spain: ‘How do you see it?’.

When he replied ‘difficult’ he was asked: ‘difficult for him to stay?’ and he replied: ‘yes’.

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Asked if Manchester City was a ‘good option’, he replied: ‘I don’t know. There is still nothing’.

When it was put to him that Guardiola had told him it would be best if Messi stayed at Barcelona he said: ‘I have not spoken to Pep. I have not spoken to anyone.’

Finally asked: ‘How do you see [Messi’s] future at Barcelona?’ He repeated: ‘Difficult, difficult.’

But Barcelona held firm in the subsequent meeting. Before the sit-down Bartomeu briefed reporters that the club would report both Messi and Manchester City if he moved to the Etihad without the payment of his £630m release clause.

The fact that the Barcelona president turned up to the meeting without lawyers has also been seen as a clear indication of the club feeling they are on more solid ground than Messi.

Barcelona are not training on Thursday so Messi has a day to think on changing his current position ahead of training on Friday.

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Decision Day for Barcelona: All or Nothing for Bartomeu

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Jorge Messi is expected to hold talks with Josep Maria Bartomeu on Wednesday as the Lionel Messi saga reaches its climax.

Leo’s father and agent flew to Barcelona from Rosario on a private jet on Tuesday in order to discuss his son’s situation at the club.

The positions of the two parties are clear.

On one side, Messi wants to leave Barcelona and believes he can legally do so for free during the current transfer window.

On the other hand, Barcelona don’t want to lose him and insist that his 700 million euro release clause remains valid.

Everything is on the line for Bartomeu in this matter – if he allows Messi to leave, he will be the president who let both the Argentine and Neymar get away.

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The president made his move early on, offering his resignation if Messi came out and said he was the reason behind his desire to leave.

However, the forward swerved that play like he would dribble past an opponent on the football pitch.

Nonetheless, Bartomeu has managed to get Jorge Messi to meet him in person, believing that a face-to-face meeting could be what it takes to convince Leo to stay.

The president will offer to extend Messi’s contract until 2022 with the terms the player had agreed on a few months ago.

The escape clause that had existed in the Argentine’s previous contract will remain valid, allowing him to leave if he wants to at the end of next season – when Bartomeu will have left the club.

If he is able to get Jorge and Leo to agree to his deal, Bartomeu will avoid the tag of being the man who let Messi flee to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

The president will have to be very persuasive though because Messi’s idea, which will be reiterated by his father, is still to leave the Camp Nou.

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If Bartomeu can’t convince Messi to sign a new deal, then talks will go to the next stage – negotiating an immediate exit.

Both parties will then agree on an asking price – Bartomeu knows not to ask for 700 million euros because Messi has legal arguments against that.

Messi does not want this matter to go to court so, rather than demanding to leave for free now, he’ll ask Barcelona to set their asking price.

The idea is for the agreed asking price to be something that clubs like Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain can match.

Then, once a conclusion has been reached, Jorge will discuss it with his son and a final resolution will be decided on.

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‘If Messi stays, I’ll quit’ – Bartomeu

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Josep Maria Bartomeu is willing to resign as Barcelona president if Lionel Messi changes his mind and decides to stay at the Camp Nou.

The Argentine sent a burofax to the club on Tuesday asking to be leave the club due to a clause in his contract, albeit the deadline for this has passed and his deal still has one year left.

As TV3 first reported and MARCA have been able to confirm, Bartomeu will step aside if the Barcelona captain publicly agrees to stay in Catalonia.

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Now the pressure has moved to Messi, whose decision to leave is reportedly irreversible. It remains to be seen what the player’s reaction will be.

A vote of no confidence for Bartomeu has added to the pressure he is being subjected to after Messi told Barcelona that he wants out.

The 33-year-old has always denied accusations that he is in command at Barcelona and asking for the president’s resignation may not be the easiest path to take for him.

Bartomeu is determined not to negotiate Messi’s sale based on the fact that the player’s clause to leave free expired on June 10.

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Furious Barca fans break-in camp Nou in riot ‘Barcelona to resign’


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Barcelona supporters angered by the running of the club have pushed through the Nou Camp gates as their protests continued for a second day.

Fans want the club’s board, headed by president Josep Bartomeu, to stand down after a dismal season that saw two sackings, losing the title to rivals Real Madrid and an embarrassing 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Now Barca are in danger of losing their long-serving talisman Lionel Messi after the Argentine told the club he wants to leave on a free transfer this summer amid the ongoing chaos, and loyal supporters have been gathering at their world famous ground to voice their fury.

Hundreds flocked to the Nou Camp on Tuesday night in support of Messi after his falling out with Bartomeu, with chants being yelled demanding the hierarchy be ousted and signs unfurled.

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And protests escalated on Wednesday as fans entered the stadium grounds, with security personel powerless to stop them.

One official was pictured attempting to thwart one individual before the huge crowd push past him and into the complex.

Another group were seen mounting the top of the gates holding up a sign demanding that Bartomeu stand down.

Despite uproar over his performance at the club, he is entitled to stay with the club until the 2021 elections next year – with some fans attempting to force a vote of no confidence against him.

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Bartomeu has made a number of key players available for sale, including the likes of Gerard Pique, Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba with new boss Ronald Koeman expected to ring the changs in the wake of the shock thrashing by Bayern.

The president has also fallen out with Messi, who is ready to quit Catalonia despite spending his entire career with Barca after his relationship with the board reached breaking point.

Manchester City are seen as the front runners to seal an astonishing deal for the Argentine superstar in a move that could see him reunited with Pep Guardiola.

Messi believes he can move on a bosman due to a clause in his contract, but Barca insist he has another year on his deal with a release clause of £629million.

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‘I suspect Bartomeu and Koeman despises Messi’ – Laporta

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Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta believes that the club are trying to usher Lionel Messi towards the exit door.

Despite Josep Maria Bartomeu and Ronald Koeman both stating publicly that they want the Argentine to stay, Laporta doesn’t buy it.

“This makes me suspect that they want to sell Messi, which would be a historic mistake,” he said on social media.

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“Poor Barcelona in hands of these incompetents.”

Laporta is also not happy with the way in which Suarez, the third highest scorer in Barcelona’s history, has been treated.

“Did you tell Suarez that he’s not in your plans over the phone?” he wrote.

“I think it’s an act of cowardice on the part of the president [Bartomeu] and a lack of respect for the player.

“This way of acting is disgraceful and damages the image of the club.”

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Amid Chaos by fans outside Camp Nou, Bartomeu Resigns

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Barcelona world called for Bartomeu to resign, while figures such as Carles Puyol sent support to Messi.

More to follow…

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Bartomeu reveals players who will depart shamefully

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So there we all were thinking Barcelona’s current mess might be the fault of their incompetent board spending 250m euros on Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho, sacking a coach in the middle of a season when they were top, allowing the club’s B-team to flounder in the third tier and overseeing an incomprehensible transfer policy since sacking the club’s last decent Sporting Director in 2015, but no we were wrong.

The problem is Gerard Pique, Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets.

They are the ones who have to leave, not the president, who said it would have been ‘irresponsible’ to quit forcing the elections that almost all supporters of the club want.

Josep Bartomeu told the club’s in-house media: ‘Now it’s time to say goodbye to some of those players who have made us the best club in the world.

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‘I don’t want to talk badly about anyone but we have to start sending some of them off with full honours.’

Full honours. That will be nice. Pique already has full honours of course. He has won everything possible in the game.

Suarez is the all-time third highest goalscorer in the club’s history and Sergio Busquets has been so good his position on the pitch now tends to carry his name.

It’s true that Busquets has wilted dramatically over the last 12 months and Suarez is the first to admit that he is in his final seasons and Pique said in his post match interview after the Bayern debacle that he would go if people thought it best.

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But to scapegoat them still seems pretty shameful. ‘This is not a social or an economic crisis it is a sporting one’, said the president pointing the finger clearly at the players.

‘There are certain players who know they are not going to continue. Give them free transfers? All the options are open,’ he said.

The list of players that Bartomeu did give as not being available for transfer also raised eyebrows. Frenkie De Jong, Clement Lenglet and Antoine Griezmann fair enough. But Nelson Semedo destroyed by Bayern Munich last Friday, really? And Dembele, seriously? You wouldn’t listen to an offer to the most expensively flawed signing in the club’s history?

It did not make a lot of sense but then almost nothing at Barcelona does right now. Eric Abidal, said Bartomeu had not been sacked. He had resigned.

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Did the club not know of his intention not to carry one when they said in a statement the previous day he would be overseeing the squad changes?

There is plenty of drama left in Barcelona’s summer and the Messi situation, for all that Bartomeu made assurances he was staying, is clearly not resolved.

Spanish radio Cadena Ser reported that Bartomeu had spoken to Messi’s father to tell him that Koeman wanted him in the team but that Messi’s father told Bartomeu that he needed to speak to his son face to face.

That meeting needs to happen soon. The new season starts in three weeks.

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‘Messi himself wants to finish his career in Barcelona’ – Bartomeu

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Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu has claimed talisman Lionel Messi ‘wants to finish his career’ at Camp Nou.

Big changes have been made immediately after the season in Catalonia, including new coach Ronald Koeman and the exit of former sporting director Eric Abidal.

Inter were alerted by reports claiming Messi has informed Barcelona he wants to leave this summer, but the President said the Argentina wants to remain.

“Messi wants to finish his career at Barcelona,” Bartomeu told Barca TV. “He has said it so many times.

“I also spoke with Koeman and he told me that Messi is the pillar of his project.”

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Bartomeu reveal 8 players who are staying

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Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has revealed which stars will not be sold this summer as the crisis club looks to rebuild.

Bartomeu, who has refused to resign his position, gave a lengthy interview to Barcelona TV and outlined how the Catalan side are planning a massive squad revamp.

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Crucially, incoming manager Ronald Koeman sees Lionel Messi as a key part of the project so his inclusion is a given, but there are eight players in total seen as integral who will not be allowed to leave.

Following the loss of the LaLiga title to fierce rivals Real Madrid and the abject 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final, most of the squad are on the chopping block.

But Bartomeu said: ‘Messi is untouchable & non-transferable. He knows it, we all know it.

‘But there are various non-transferable players like (Marc Andre) Ter Stegen, (Clement) Lenglet, (Nelson) Semedo, (Frenkie) De Jong, (Antoine) Griezmann, (Ousmane) Dembele… players we are counting on in the future.’

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The 17-year-old sensation Ansu Fati is another name checked by the club president who is seen as a big part of the future.

‘We have had (offers) for Ansu Fati, for example,’ Bartomeu went on.

‘But Barca does not want to sell players, although we receive several offers for players.

‘We don’t want to sell him. He has a great future. I’m telling you from here, he’s non-transferable.’

Philippe Coutinho is returning to the Nou Camp having scored twice against his parent club for Bayern in the quarter-final and the Brazilian playmaker could yet have part to play next season.

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Bartomeu opened the door for the former Liverpool man to stay, saying: ‘The head coach will make the decision. If he wants him to continue, next year he will play with us.’

And the 57-year-old went on to stake plainly that Messi would not be going anywhere given his utmost importance to the club.

‘I have spoken with Koeman and the pillar of our project is Messi,’ he said. ‘He has a contract until 2021, I speak a lot with Leo and more regularly with his father.

‘He is number one in the world. There is no doubt that in Koeman’s new project you can count on Messi.’

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Koeman is inheriting an aging squad in dire need of a rebuild and is taking the helm following Quique Setien’s sacking. Sporting director Eric Abidal is another to have been given the boot in the wake of the Bayern humiliation.

Many have called for Bartomeu himself to step down but he said: ‘We didn’t want to resign, we wanted to do the planning for next season. To resign now would be easy but irresponsible. We have a sporting crisis but not an institutional crisis.’

There are club elections next year and he is widely expected to miss out on reelection.

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Chaos as Bartomeu will continue as Barca’s President for a year

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Barcelona might be a basket case club right now but what supporter wouldn’t want the power to vote out an incompetent board every six years?

The last time the club held elections it was 2015 and off the back of a league, cup and Champions League treble Josep Bartomeu won polling 25,823 votes, 54.63 per cent of the turnout.

His six years are up next summer so the supporters have the chance to pick again.

No system is without its flaws however and Bartomeu’s right to a sixth year despite his overwhelming unpopularity and the desire for change now, is a problem.

Xavi wants to coach Barcelona with Carles Puyol as his sporting director but neither wants to work with Bartomeu so the plan that would take the club forward is on hold.

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Such a situation could be solved by a vote of no-confidence forcing elections ahead of time. But this is always difficult and in the current climate, even more problematic than usual.

Any group wanting to force a vote of no confidence needs to gather signatures from 15 per cent of the membership (it used to be five per cent but Sandro Rosell raised it to 15).

Currently that means 16,570 names on a petition. Gathering such support is a lot easier to do, stood outside the Nou Camp asking disgruntled supporters to sign before they go the game.

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In the last two matches before LaLiga lockdown there were protests against Bartomeu at the stadium. Supporters even brought their white handkerchiefs to wave in protest – the old-fashioned way of showing contempt for the status quo.

But football’s subsequent return behind closed doors took away that possibility of building the protest on match days and filling the petition quota.

Now in the middle of August people are not only, not at the Nou Camp for matches, many of them are not even in the city.

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From the date they announce the vote of no confidence protesters have 14 days to gather the necessary number of signatures.

If they manage it the club is forced to hold a referendum on whether the board should resign.

But the motion still needs a two-thirds majority in the referendum to pass. It’s not impossible but it’s problematic and with Catalonia still in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic it would probably take the real possibility of Messi’s departure to trigger anything like the necessary level of mobilisation.

So things are set to stumble on. The president will not quit. He needs to hire a new coach but anyone taking over now knows they could be out after one season because the president will definitely be gone next summer.

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Messi has told the directors he wants out from this shambles but he can’t leave because he has a £633m (€700m) release clause. Selling Messi for less could still balance the books but the board would never get away with it.

It’s a comic soap opera and it’s tempting to laugh at the very public meltdown. But by the summer of 2021 at the latest Barcelona supporters will have the chance to choose the man they want to run the club – and by extension the coach too because every presidential candidate will have named his manager before the election.

It beats having a lousy owner who can’t be shifted, no matter what he does with the club.

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Bartomeu confirms ‘ Setien is Sacked’

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It was widely expected that Quique Setien had coached his last game for Barcelona and the Catalan club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu has confirmed that the coach won’t be staying on.

After having a meeting with Eric Abidal and Ramon Planes on Sunday, Bartomeu admitted this to a reporter for Spanish radio.

“He’s out,” the president told journalist Victor Navarro, as Navarro explained for the Cadena Cope radio station.

An official club announcement is expected soon, with Ronald Koeman the frontrunner to take over.

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Bartomeu schedules ‘General compulsory meeting’ on Monday

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Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has called an extraordinary emergency meeting for Monday, August 17, after the catastrophe produced on Friday night at the Estadio da Luz, where the Blaugrana were humiliated in an 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich.

In this meeting, the club’s current situation at all levels will be analysed, the names of possible replacements for Quique Setien will be put on the table, and there’s even the option of calling early elections, a possibility that is up for debate but seems unlikely.

This information comes from NobleSports, who note that there will also be some changes amongst those upstairs at the Camp Nou, as Bartomeu alluded to after the loss to Bayern by stating that decisions had already been taken before this match and that they will start to come into effect from Monday.

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Former Barcelona President Blasts Bartomeu

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Joan Laporta accused Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu of ‘cowardice and ineptitude’ in the wake of their 8-2 Champions League humiliation by Bayern Munich.

Bartomeu apologised to the club’s supporters after Barcelona’s heaviest defeat since 1940 and pledged to make ‘decisions’ to get the club back on track.

This is likely to include the sacking of manager Quique Setien, who was only appointed back in January.

But that didn’t spare him criticism from former Barcelona president Laporta, who said Bartomeu isn’t fit to make such decisions.

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Laporta tweeted: ‘After this very painful defeat, the statements of President Bartomeu are, once again, a sign of cowardice and ineptitude.

‘The incompetence of him and his board disqualifies them from making more decision that condition Barca’s future.’

Laporta was Barcelona’s president between 2003 and 2010 during which time they won four LaLiga titles, the Spanish Cup and the Champions League twice.

He was succeeded by Sandro Rosell, who served for four years before Bartomeu took the role in January 2014, initially as interim president.

Bartomeu’s tenure has seen the club win three league titles, four Spanish Cups and one Champions League. He defeated Laporta in the 2015 presidential election.

But they have failed to win any silverware this season for the first time since 2007-08, losing out to Real Madrid in the LaLiga title race and losing to Athletic Bilbao in the Cup quarter-finals.

Their eight-goal humiliation at the hands of Bayern in the Champions League quarter-finals represents a fresh low.

Speaking after the Bundesliga champions’ demolition of his side, Bartomeu insisted some of the tough decisions have already been made.

‘It’s a really heavy defeat,’ Bartomeu said. ‘I want to congratulate Bayern, who played a great game. They deserve to go through to the semi finals. We weren’t at our best, nor near it.

‘Today was a disaster and now we have to make decisions. We’ve already thought about some of them.

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‘Today isn’t a day for decisions. We want to apologise to the fans, members and Barcelonistas.’

However, when pushed on who and what those decisions would involve, Bartomeu – who will now be under severe pressure from rival candidate Victor Font ahead of elections next year – did not reveal the club’s intentions.

‘I’m not going to say what [decisions] they are because some of them have already been made and others will be made,’ he added.

‘Today is a day to reflect. From tomorrow, we’ll try to lift the spirits of all the Barcelona fans and we’ll make decisions from next week.’

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‘Changes will occur, things will change’ – Bartomeu vows to Barcelona

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Barcelona’s beleaguered club president Josep Bartomeu has insisted changes will be made at the Camp Nou after their humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

The Catalan side suffered their heaviest defeat since 1940 as they crashed out at the quarter-final stage of the competition in Lisbon, and reports in Italy suggest boss Quique Setien has already been sacked.

Setien only joined the club in January as a replacement for Ernesto Valverde, and reports have also suggested that he could be followed out the exit door by Eric Abidal, Barcelona’s director of football, in a complete restructure of the club.

And speaking after the Bundesliga champions’ demolition of his side, Bartomeu insisted some of the tough decisions have already been made.

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‘It’s a really heavy defeat,’ Bartomeu said.

‘I want to congratulate Bayern, who played a great game. They deserve to go through to the semi finals. We weren’t at our best, nor near it.

‘Today was a disaster and now we have to make decisions. We’ve already thought about some of them.

‘Today isn’t a day for decisions. We want to apologise to the fans, members and Barcelonistas.’

However, when pushed on who and what those decisions would involve, Bartomeu – who will now be under severe pressure from rival candidate Victor Font ahead of club elections next year – did not reveal the club’s intentions.

‘I’m not going to say what [decisions] they are because some of them have already been made and others will be made,’ he added.

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‘Today is a day to reflect. From tomorrow, we’ll try to lift the spirits of all the Barcelona fans and we’ll make decisions from next week.’

However, Bartomeu himself came in for severe criticism from Joan Laporta, who served as Barcelona president 2003-10.

Posting after Barcelona’s humiliation in Portugal, Laporta tweeted: ‘After this very painful defeat, the statements of President Bartomeu are, once again, a sign of cowardice and ineptitude.

‘The incompetence of him and his board disqualifies them from making more decisions that condition Barça’s future.’

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Maria Bartomeu reassure Barcelona fans and players Messi won’t leave

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Josep Bartomeu has reassured Barcelona fans that Lionel Messi wants to finish his playing days at the Nou Camp amid fears he could leave.

Inter Milan have been linked with a sensational move for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, who appears to be growing increasingly discontent at Barcelona, and are keeping a close eye on his situation.

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Messi has yet to sign a new deal at the Nou Camp and could leave for free next summer but Bartomeu insists the Argentine superstar isn’t going anywhere.

‘It’s not just me who says it, Messi says it himself,’ Bartomeu told NobleSports Relaibe source. ‘He wants to finish his professional playing career at Barcelona and it’s the only club for him.

‘I don’t have any doubt that when he finishes his football career in three or four years it will be here at Barcelona.

‘Messi has it very clear. He’s been here since he was a kid, he knows the colours and is a part of the club’s history.

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‘He is the best player in the world. Not just right now, but in the history of the game. He’s at Barcelona and has made clear he wants to stay here.’

It was reported last week by Italian outlet La Gazzetta Dello Sport that Inter were preparing an ‘astronomical offer’ to try and snap up Messi.

It was claimed that Inter would put forward an incredible offer to Messi, with a collective salary of £235million over a four-year contract.

Messi’s demeanour in recent times has sent waves of concern through the Barca camp, with many now fearing he will call time on the club he has spent the entirety of his senior career with.

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Bartomeu provides update on Lautaro and Neymar’s transfer

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Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has ruled out moves for both Neymar and Lautaro Martinez after detailing the extent of the club’s financial constraints.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a big impact on Barca’s spending this summer, with Bartomeu admitting some investments will have to wait.

A bid to secure Neymar’s return from PSG was believed to be top priority, while discussions regarding Inter Milan striker Martinez have also taken place.

But Bartomeu has declared a transfer for either player in the coming months is out of the question after the club lost out on around £200million over the past few months.

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“All the big European clubs are affected,” he told Sport . “This isn’t going to last a year, but three or four.

“Neymar? In this situation, it’s unfeasible. Nor does PSG want to sell him.

“Barca have spoken with Inter about Lautaro, but the talks have stopped. The situation doesn’t invite large investments.”

The La Liga giants were forced to ask their players to take a 70% pay cut when the outbreak of Covid-19 forced football to be suspended before returning without fans.

Any new arrivals this summer could therefore depend on how much the club can recoup from the sale of unwanted stars.

Philippe Coutinho is the main player Barca are keen to offload, but there has been little interest from other clubs in signing the Brazilian on a permanent basis.

Both Neymar and Martinez would command fees in excess of £100m, which is simply not possible for Barcelona anytime soon, as Bartomeu explained how much they are relying on getting fans back in stadiums.

“In the 2020-21 season we expected to post 1.1 bn euros, but we’ll have 30% of that,” he added.

“If the situation of the pandemic doesn’t improve, there will be no spectators, no museum, no stores open, and money will continue to be lost.

“It forces us to be very rigorous in management: we must review which investments are essential and which can wait.”

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Bartomeu confident Messi will stay at Camp Nou

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Josep Maria Bartomeu says he has “no doubt” Lionel Messi will sign a new contract with Barcelona.

Messi, whose deal expires in 2021, had called his side “weak” and “inconsistent” after they lost the league title to Real Madrid.

The 33-year-old Argentina forward scored twice as runners-up Barcelona thrashed Alaves 5-0 on the final day of La Liga, landing him the division’s top scorer’s award for a record seventh time.

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“Messi has said many times that he wants to retire here and I have no doubt that he will re-sign,” Barca president Bartomeu told Mundo Deportivo.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar has been linked with a return to Nou Camp but Bartomeu said the only way for Barcelona to sign the Brazil forward would be through a player exchange.

“Now we are making decisions and the players, if they do not come as part of a player exchange, it is very difficult for them to come,” Bartomeu added.

Barcelona face Napoli on August 8 in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 with the score 1-1 from the first match in February.

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Bartomeu confirms Lautaro transfer talks on ‘Standstill’

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Barcelona club president Josep Bartomeu has admitted talks to sign Lautaro Martinez are ‘at a standstill’ but insists Lionel Messi will not leave to join the Serie A side.

The Catalan giants have long held interest in Inter Milan striker Martinez as a long-term replacement for 33-year-old forward Luis Suarez.

But speaking to Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo, Bartomeu conceded there were no new developments on their attempts to sign the Argentine.

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‘We’ve talked to Inter, but right now it’s at a standstill,’ he said.

Asked if the 22-year-old Argentina international remains a priority signing, Bartomeu added: ‘Our sporting focus right now is on the Champions League, which is just around the corner.’

Bartomeu also denied that club captain Messi will be departing the Camp Nou to join the San Siro outfit upon the expiration of his contract next year.

Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport claimed on Saturday that Inter are eyeing a sensational move for the Barcelona star and believe they have the cash to lure the 33-year-old to Serie A.

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But Bartomeu believes Messi will stick to his word and see out the rest of his career at the Catalan side.

‘Messi has said on several occasions that he wants to retire here and I have no doubts that he’ll renew [his contract].

‘I have a very close relationship with him, as I do with all the captains.’

Barcelona’s club president also indicated the club will focus on bringing through their academy stars next season as opposed to recruiting big name signings.

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Asked if lots of youngsters will take part next season, the 57-year-old said: ‘Yes, we already have seven new signings.

‘In January, Barca made a commitment to the future and since we did that people are seeing the quality we have.’

In his answer, Bartomeu was referring to the rapid promotion into the first team of Ansu Fati and Riqui Puig this season.

Fellow academy graduates Ronald Araujo and Alex Collado have also seen first-team action, with Dani Morer, Aranu Tenas and highly-rated Rey Manaj set to follow suit next season.

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‘My relationship with Xavi is intact but setien is the players coach’ – Bartomeu

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Josep Maria Bartomeu has confirmed that Quique Setien should be Barcelona’s coach for next season.

The Blaugrana president also dismissed rumours that linked Xavi Hernandez with the coach’s role, but stressed that he maintains a good relationship with the current Al Sadd tactician.

“Xavi is a player with whom I have an excellent relationship,” he told Mundo Deportivo.

“But Quique Setien currently has a contract with Barcelona and still has a contract for next year

“We have always said that Quique Setien is our coach and he will guide us in this Champions League, which is our great hope.

“Napoli is the first step, and then he’ll continue in the following season.”

Lionel Messi has reportedly halted talks about his contract renewal, but Bartomeu is confident that the Barcelona captain will continue at the club for many years.

“Messi has said it many times,” he added.

“He has said that he will retire at Barcelona, at the club of his life.

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“And I have no doubt that Messi will play much further than 2021, which is when his contract ends.”

Neymar and Lautaro Martinez have both been linked with a move to Barcelona, but Bartomeu pointed out that swap deals are the only way the club can sign a player for the time being.

“I have said before that the coronavirus pandemic has affected many projects and strategies,” he noted.

“If players do not come on a swap deal, it is almost impossible for the club to sign players.

“We have spoken with Inter, quite a few weeks ago.

“Currently there is no open conversation, the topic is halted.”

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Setien will continue as Barca coach for now – Bartomeu

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Barcelona coach Quique Setien will stay in his job for the time being after talks with president Josep Maria Bartomeu on Friday evening.

Setien is under pressure after Barca lost 2-1 at home to Osasuna on Thursday night and fierce rivals Real Madrid claimed the title with one round still left in LaLiga.

Captain Lionel Messi gave a furious post-match interview at Camp Nou in which he called for change ahead of the Champions League next month and Bartomeu met with Setien on Friday to discuss his future.

Following those talks, Standard Sport understands Setien was told he will remain in charge for the Champions League in August, with Barca in action at home to Napoli in the teams’ last-16 second leg at Camp Nou and a possible quarter-final clash against Bayern Munich ahead after that.

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Barca face Alaves away from home in LaLiga on Sunday and will train on Monday and Tuesday, before taking five days off ahead of their European fixture.


The board hope Barca’s players and technical staff will benefit from the break and are reluctant to change coach again after already replacing Ernesto Valverde with Setien in January.

Messi had said Barcelona would need to ‘change a lot’ if they are to challenge for the Champions League, but with the competition less than three weeks away, there is little time to adapt to the ideas of another coach.


“I think Setien should continue,” Barcelona legend Carles Rexach said on Friday. “When you change the coach in the middle of the season, it’s terrible for the team.”

On Sunday at Alaves, Setien’s side have nothing to play for in terms of points or objectives in LaLiga, but the coach’s short-term future could depend on the team’s performance at Mendizorrotza.

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Transfer plans re-accessment to commence as Lautaro deal holds on

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FC Barcelona club president Josep Maria Bartomeu provided an update on Lautaro Martinez and Barcelona’s transfer plans.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said the LaLiga giants have held talks with Inter over Lautaro Martinez but a move for the star forward is on hold.

Martinez – who arrived in Milan from Racing Club in 2018 – has been tipped to swap Serie A side Inter for Barca at the end of the 2019-20 coronavirus-hit season.

The Argentina forward had scored 16 goals prior to the campaign being halted in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic but he has only netted once in seven games since the restart amid the speculation.

Bartomeu provided an update on Martinez and Barça’s transfer plans, with the club set to be dethroned by bitter rivals Real Madrid in LaLiga.

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“The coming market will be very different. The big clubs will be limited by economic problems, but Barca are always a market-mover,” Bartomeu told TV3.

“In Lautaro’s case the negotiation is halted right now. We spoke to Inter a few weeks ago. We are in an assessment phase.

“We have spoken with Inter about Lautaro, but not recently. We will wait to finish the season and re-assess everything.”

Barcelona are second in LaLiga after 36 matches, a point behind Madrid – who can restore their four-point advantage with victory over Getafe on Monday.

Quique Setien’s Barca are back in action for their penultimate league clash against Osasuna on Thursday.

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