Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted he had no interest in continuing a public spat with Lionel Messi in spite of the Barcelona captain’s criticism of his presidency.
Messi stunned the world last month when he informed Barca of his objective to leave the LaLiga giants.
with the 33-year-old intending to trigger a stipulation in his agreement to leave on a free at the end of last season.
Nevertheless, the validity of such a terms was murky due to the campaign being extended by the coronavirus pandemic.
Messi eventually decided to stay in Catalonia instead of challenge Barcelona in a legal fight.
That did not avoid him from taking goal at Bartomeu in an interview with Goal, however.
as he accused the president of reneging on his wish to leave and commanding a club that had “no job or anything for a long time”.
” As president, I will not participate in any conflict with Messi,” Bartomeu told TV3.
” Messi is our captain, our leader. The issue is parked. What has been said has been stated.
” I couldn’t allow to let the best player worldwide go. The team needs him, he ensures success. Things need to be gone over in your home. You have to support the team and the players.
” We have to praise ourselves that Messi is still with us. He is excited about [coach Ronald] Koeman’s project. The essential thing is he plays for Barca, at his home. We want him to retire at the club.”
Messi’s contract ends at the end of the 2020-21 season anyhow, though by that point Barcelona will have a different president as there are elections to replace Bartomeu next March.
Nevertheless, Bartomeu, unpopular with some Barcelona fans due to his function in the Messi saga.
may be dislodged prior to then if he deals with a vote of no confidence on the back of a movement to remove him.
which has actually up until now collected more than 20,000 votes.
” Right now, no-one is thinking about resigning,” Bartomeu included.
” The club is not going to stop. I think everyone was shocked by the variety of signatures however we respect democracy and the club’s laws.”