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After explaining the details of the vote of censure, President Josep Maria Bartomeu also discussed sporting matters at FC Barcelona, with Koeman and Messi the main topics.
“When last season ended, an urgent matter that could not be put off was the appointment of a new manager” he said. “And we also had to work in the most unusual summer transfer market of all time, which all had to be made compatible with our sporting needs as well as the new financial demands. And we needed to continue protecting and extending our revenue together with the implementation of new cost reduction measures.”
Ronald Koeman guaranteed the possibility of “maintaining the footballing idea, being someone with the experience and character required to rebuild the squad … I wish to thank Ronald Koeman for accepting our offer under difficult circumstances, having to make difficult, unpopular decisions in such a very difficult financial time. His personality and decisions are already making their mark. We were fervently committed to the need to overhaul the team to prioritise what was best for the team, regardless of names or ages. Koeman’s success will be the success of all Barça fans. We shall take care of that and respect that.”
Bartomeu also spoke of the issue regarding Leo Messi this summer: “During those weeks we had to defend what was best for Barça, and what was for the best player in the world and football history to stay with us. Leo Messi had a contract, and the option of unilateral termination had expired. And the most important thing was that the sporting priority was to begin a new era with Messi in the team.”
He justified his silence at that time by saying: “I decided not to make any public statements. I did not feel it would be appropriate to be discussing our captain’s affairs in public. I would not do so now either. It’s part of the job. I was accused of wanting to force a transfer for financial reasons, to ‘balance the books’ so to speak. Well, no. I defended the club’s interests, accepting the consequences that refusing Messi’s decision to go to one of our direct rivals would entail … This team, with Leo Messi and a mix of young talent and winning experience, will recover the pride and hope that our fans crave. Of that I am more than convinced. But decisions had to be made. And they were made. Knowing what reactions that might cause, but always prioritising the club’s interests above anything else.”
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