In an interview with Sky Sports, President Josep Maria Bartomeu talked about the challenges Barça face both institutionally and athletically, and he recounted his youth as an FC Barcelona fan.
In his first interview with the British network as Barça’s president, Batromeu talked about his first visit to the Camp Nou as a child, in the 1972/73 season. It was during the era when “Carles Rexach was our greatest star.” Bartomeu revealed that he he knew that one day he would actively help the Club. That realisation came when he watched Barça lose the 1994 Athens final from the stands, along with Sandro Rosell and other members of the current Board. “We decided that we had to help, even though we were young, we had to do something for the Club and for our city, and that’s what we did.”
Bartomeu went on to say that modernising the Club and the Club’s installations is one of his highest priorities, and that these goals will be met through the Espai Barça proposal which will be submitted to a vote by Club members later this year. Bartomeu insisted that Barça must take advantage of its privileged location, given that the Club has more than 20 hectares in the center of the city. “This is something that no other club in the world has,” he said. The president added that the project will benefit the Club in part because of the “millions of tourists that visit the city each year will want to visit and enjoy the Club.”
When questioned about Neymar, the president said that the player hasn’t been affected by the ongoing discussions about his contract. “He’s doing well and he’s eager to play,” he said. On Messi’s contract renewal, Bartomeu insisted that “he’s the best and he should be compensated as such,” without divulging when the negotiations will begin.
He then went on to discuss the upcoming Champions League tie with Manchester City. “It will be a very tough match against a very competitive rival. The two teams compete to the maximum of ‘fair play,’” he concluded.