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Josep Maria Bartomeu during Wednesday's press conference/ PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

[[DES_1]] During the press conference to announce, Presidential elections at the end of the 2014/15 season, Josep Maria Bartomeu also spoke about the current sporting situation of the first team and defended the figures of Leo Messi and Luis Enrique. Following reports of a rift between the two, President Bartomeu insisted that the “best player in the world” and the coach had a “fine” relationship and made it clear: “we can’t go around rebutting every story that appears in the press”. Messi has a contract, he’s happy and he wants to win things with Barça

Josep Maria Bartomeu made a fierce defence of Leo Messi, reminding the assembled media: “Messi has a contract, he’s happy and he wants to win things with Barça. We are very relaxed about our relationship with him. He is the leader of the team, he’s the best player in the world and is playing with some great players at Barça. Messi is a leader in the squad and that is the way we want him to continue”.

After Luis Enrique declared this lunchtime that his position had been weakened by the departure of Andoni Zubizarreta because of the relationship between them, Bartomeu made it clear that he viewed the coach’s reaction as “normal – they had worked together a lot, but now we are starting a new era. Over the next few days I will be announcing the new sporting director and I am sure he will work well with Luis Enrique, just as Zubizarreta has done so far. Luis Enrique has got a new project on his hands. He’s working with a lot of new players and he is the right man for the job. You can’t put together a new project in three or four months – he has a contract till 2016 and we are on the right track”.

Bartomeu gave a few clues as to the new sporting director, insisting: “we aren’t looking for anyone from outside. We want someone with Barça in their blood and who is closely linked to our idea of football”. The President also explained that “Puyol’s leaving is not connected to Zubizarreta’s departure. He has new projects in mind and he wants to get ready for them. I am clear that Puyol will return to FC Barcelona”.We aren’t looking for anyone from outside. We want someone with Barça in their blood

Frosty relations with FIFA

President Bartomeu also spoke about the recent CAS decision on FIFA’s sanction: “FIFA have not told us who made the original charge and during the period of the sanction we will not maintain any institutional relations with them. I have sent a stern letter to Sepp Blatter and I will not be attending the FIFA Balon D’Oro gala set for January 12”.

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