The FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has given an interview to Italian newspaper La Repubblica in which he highlights the figure of Leo Messi, the importance of Barça’s style of play and the model of La Masia and the youth teams. On the subject of Messi, who could win the Ballon d’Or for a record fifth time on Monday, Bartomeu maintains “he deserves everything.”
“He is the greatest [player] in history, the statistics show that and he will not stop there. There has never been anyone like him and nobody will take that away from him.
“We have had great players in the past before like Kubala and Luis Suárez. Johan Cruyff brought us back to life and as a coach he put us back on the map with the European Cup win in 1992. With Ronaldinho we became a global club and with Messi even more so,” explained the Barça president.
In Zurich Messi and Neymar are on the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or and Bartomeu said of the Brazilian: “Neymar will be at Barça for as long as possible. Here he feels loved.” On the trio formed by the two candidates and Luis Suárez he added: “Nobody will take them away from us.”
One of the keys to Barça’s success is their model and philosophy with regards to style of play. “We don’t want to win just any old way. It is the Dutch school of Michels, Cruyff, Van Gaal and Rijkaard. In the centre of every decision is the ball; if you treat it well then you get your reward,” said Bartomeu.
This belief is something that has generated respect around the world. “We are a global club, respected and loved, with a mission to entertain. Abroad people say to me ‘I am not a Barça fan but they fascinate me.’”