“I Would Never Have Let Messi Go If I Was Still President” – Bartomeu
Josep Maria Bartomeu’s time as Barcelona president ended in disgrace, but that hasn’t stopped him from stepping forward to criticise Joan Laporta’s time at the club so far.
Following Lionel Messi’s exit over the summer, Bartomeu has been left unimpressed with Laporta’s work in the job, this despite Bartomeu’s presence at the club almost driving Messi out a year earlier.
“They let Messi leave and that seems like a bad decision to me,” Bartomeu said, speaking to Sport, Mundo Deportivo and others.
“Playing without Messi shows that a lot of things have to change.
“As president, I didn’t want Messi to leave and I did everything I could to prevent it from happening.”
Defending his board and Koeman
Bartomeu continued, offering a defence of his much criticised board, who have continued to face blame for the club’s current financial state.
“I’m not afraid,” Bartomeu said. “Nobody from my board put their hand into the till. You can’t hide that, and after so many months we would have known by now.
“Nothing came out in the audit nor when they did their due diligence. They can do whatever they want.”
The former president was the man who appointed Ronald Koeman as coach, and he believes the Dutchman is still the right man for the job.
“He’s prepared,” Bartomeu said. “You have to be patient to allow him to build a team without the best player in the world.
“I think the squad have a lot of talent, especially young talent.”