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FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu spoke to The New York Times to discuss the first team, the club’s growth around the world and La Liga as a whole.
The president discussed in length a variety of topics with esteemed journalist Rob Hughes for the interview which was published online on Tuesday and will be released in Wednesday’s newspaper.
Strengthening La Liga
The president spoke of the English Premier League and how it is the most appealing league in the world, “especially in the American and Asian markets,” something he would like to change.
In order to do so, he believes the key is to strengthen the rest of the Spanish top division, but not simply by giving handouts.
“It is not a gift to smaller clubs, but rather an investment to strengthen La Liga. All clubs will benefit from this.”
“English teams, at least on the field, are not better than Barça, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus or PSG,” Bartomeu said.
He therefore explained that “we don’t fear anything in Spain. Our biggest opponent is not a single club, it is the Premier League in England.”
Bartomeu has always sought to make Barça a global brand. The Club has recently opened an office in New York, an FCB Escola in Inidia and Indonesia as well as recently extending its deal with UNICEF to 2020.
“Our main objective is not to gain money,” he said. “Money needs to be on the field in order to be able to win.”
More than a club
Barça is famed for being a club owned by its members, and Bartomeu was keen to stress this during the interview.
“We are a board of 21 persons, who employ, on behalf of the 140,000 socios, Messi and Neymar and Suárez, but also Iniesta, Busquets, and so on.
“Barça, we all say, is more than a club, from the players at the top to the youngest child in our academy. We have a historic memory.”
Lastly, he spoke about Barça’s treasured front three, and in particular the fact that many questioned the decision to sign the current top scorer of La Liga.
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