25 days after Leo Messi announced that he wanted to leave Barça, Josep Maria Bartomeu has spoken publicly about the matter for the first time. “I couldn’t allow Leo Messi to leave the club”. Since that August 25 in which a burofax was the cover of newspapers and news from half the world, the Barça president had maintained a rigorous silence. His voice had only been heard at Rakitic’s farewell act, although he did not comment on the continuity of Leo or on other thorny issues, such as the motion of censure that was already underway. 48 hours after 20,687 signatures of partners were collected demanding their dismissal, Bartomeu spoke this Saturday on TV3 before the Gamper. “Nobody values resigning right now.”
On the ongoing process to overthrow him, Bartomeu has pointed out that will be respectful of the signature validation process and he has avoided speculating on whether he thinks he could get enough support at the polls to avoid being the first Barça president deposed in a referendum. Nobody is aware that the great fuel that has allowed to collect a record number of headings has been Messi’s attempt to leave the Camp Nou, fed up with Bartomeu. The president avoided entering the melee with the Argentine star, who accused him of not having a word and denounced that “there has been no project or anything for a long time, they are juggling and covering holes.” “As president I will not enter into any conflict with Messi. It’s our captain, the team leader, he speaks on the field, these days we have seen him very involved in the Koeman project. It is a parked issue. What I do have to say is that I couldn’t allow Messi, the best player in the world and in history, to leave Barça. We want him to retire from the club, “argued the Barcelona leader.
The last time he had submitted to questions from journalists was on August 18 to affirm that Barça he was not experiencing any “institutional crisis” but a simple “sports crisis” after 2-8 against him Bayern will certify the blank year of the Catalans. Bartomeu has been responding to the other fires that have accumulated in the club since then: about the burofax Quique Setién, in which he said that he had not been officially fired, he explained that it was Eric Abidal who had communicated to him in person to the technician his dismissal and that when he does not achieve an agreed exit, the judge must be the one to resolve it; Regarding the economic problems to sign, he has pointed out that in order to comply with the financial ‘fair play’ and not exceed the wage bill “before players enter, others have to leave”; and has also talked about ‘Riqui Puig case’, which Koeman left out of the Gamper, putting a shadow of suspicion on his future. “It is a bit exaggerated news to say that Koeman does not have him, it is not that. Koeman will tell, but there is a very large staff and the important thing is that it is competitive.