Bartomeu: "No single player is bigger than Barça"

The FC Barcelona president addresses supporters clubs on a number of issues, including the departure of Neymar Jr and what the club intends to so with the 222 million euros

As has become traditional in recent years, the World Congress of Penyes (Official FC Barcelona Supporters Clubs) is being held on the same day as the Gamper. And as is also traditional, the president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, addressed the hall.

Here’s a selection of some of his standout comments:

On Neymar Jr’s departure

“He is a player that has played a part in four years of success. But he is now part of Barça history … Everything has a limit and no player can be bigger than Barça. No individual interests can take precedence over the interests of the club:”

“When doubts arose over his continuity, we were calm because whatever decision he made, it was always going to good for Barça. If he stayed, we’d keep an exceptional player. And if he left then the whole of his buyout clause would have to be paid, which gives us the money to guarantee that we can sign new and competitive players.”

“It wasn’t the best of farewells and we’d like things to have been clearer.”

“Now what will we do with the 222 million euros? Everyone is asking that. We’ll administer the money with prudence, rigour and serenity. We shall act responsibly, knowing that we have the money to invest in the team, buying new players and expanding our assets.”

“We have passed all the details of the operation to UEFA for two reasons. Because we are opposed to the artificial inflation of the football market and because we want to protect football and make it sustainable.”

On Messi and Iniesta

“I praise Leo Messi for his loyalty and commitment. He sets an example for anyone who ever wears our shirt. This season, we shall stop talking about the trident and speak about the team instead. We have kept the greatest player ever, Leo Messi, who will continue to lead the team.”

“And we also hope that Andrés Iniesta will extend his time with us and see out his playing days at Barça.”

On Enesto Valverde

“He respects our style of play, while bringing new footballing ideas to the team. He has already won the players’ respect and I’m sure he’ll win yours soon too.”

On the new signings

Gerard Deulofeu is back, Marlon Santos has been promoted to the first team and we have signed Nélson Semedo. And there will be more players to come.”

On club finances

“The 708 million euros of revenue that we made last season was a club record… We have made an overall profit of 175 million euros since 2010. We reduced the debt by 24 million last year. The debt currently stands at 247 million, which is 184 million less than when we came into power. We are second most valuable club in the world after Manchester United.”

On the supporters movement

“We have a unique set of fans. The work you do is spectacular. And we are here to help you with everything you need.

On the Gamper Trophy

“This year’s edition has a special meaning because it is our show of solidarity for Chapecoense, a club that suffered a terrible tragedy and that deserves all of our support.”

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