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FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu gave an exclusive interview to Barça TV this Friday, in which he assessed various matters involving the Club. In the extensive chat, he spoke about the squad, the attempt to sign Neymar this summer, Leo Messi's contract and the Club's continued commitment to La Masia, as well as institutional matters such as the 2019/20 budget exceeding €1bn for the first time.
THE 2019/20 SQUAD
“The planning was done a while ago, and we made the signings that we had planned: A midfielder, a forward and a defender, plus moving Wague up from Barça B and changing goalkeepers as Cillessen wanted to leave."
“This squad is more competitive than last season's. It's a small squad, but very competitive. Ernesto Valverde accepts the level of demand and I am expecting a lot from this season."
“De Ligt was one of our targets, but he decided not to come to Barça."
“The dressing room did not reject us signing Griezmann. The players don't give their opinions on signings; it is the technical team who decide."
“I'm happy because players such as Riqui Puig, Carles Pérez and Ansu Fati, among others, are adapting to the first team dynamic. I like that the coach is incorporating them. They have to learn from the best."
“Barça had already planned their squad, but the opportunity to sign Neymar was one that came up in the market. His signing was an extra; it wasn't planned."
“Barça never offered our players. It was PSG who asked for then in the negotiations."
“The deal didn't go through because the Club could not meet PSG's demands."
VERY COMPETITIVE SQUADS
“I don't see any other clubs with better squads than Barça in their professional teams."
“Last season we reached the final stages of the campaign with the chance of winning the European Cup with all of our professional teams, and that shows the great teams that we have and the fact that we are competitive right to the end."
“They have won 8 of the last 11 league titles, the Champions League, the Club World Cup... Although it is true that at certain moments the team have not performed as we would have liked."
LEO MESSI'S CONTRACT
“Leo Messi has a contract through to the 2020/21 season, but the player is able to leave Barça before the final season."
“It's the same case as with the final contracts that Xavi, Puyol and Iniesta had. They are players who deserve that liberty, and we shouldn't worry, as they are very committed to Barça."
“We want Messi to play for Barça through to 2021 and beyond. We are very calm."
“Espai Barça is a project by the Club. It isn't a project by the Board of Directors."
“The demolition of the Miniestadi will begin on September 24 with a commemorative event."
“In 2014, we had a budget of €600m. Now we have specific projects and are ceding to the demands of the City Council, and the deviation could reach €685m. In the coming months we will hold an extraordinary meeting to address this issue of the new financing plan."
“The number for the budget has changed, because the costs are different to five years ago and we have increased the construction limit a little more. We will also have to deal with work in the district of Les Corts, which were not planned in 2014. The construction contracts will be signed in the next year or in a year and a half."
THE POSSIBLE ARRIVAL OF CARLES PUYOL
“We are talking with him and we would very much like him to return to Barça. He has a lot to offer the Club and is very clear about the concept of football and organisation. In addition, he has also been training over the past few years."
“It isn't an emergency, but it is necessary that the position of Barça general manager is covered."
THE BUDGET AND DEBT
“We will present a budget for the 2019/20 season with around €1.06bn in income."
“I want to give a message of calm. We have healthy finances and we are a robust club. The fact that financial entities join with us to offer us resources is a clear demonstration that we are solid."
“The level of debt is normal and complies with the ratios set by the statutes. We are under the EBITDA, and we have an enormous EBITDA that generate a lot of income."
"Last year we generated nearly €180m Ebitda, with accumulated profits of €153m and a net debt of around €160m. If we add Espai Barça to this, then this debt is €217m."
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