Josep Maria Bartomeu before the match against Elche. FOTO: MARTA BECERRA-FCB.

FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu spoke to the media immediately after Barça’s 3-0 win over Elche in the opening game of the 2014/15 Liga campaign. He is impressed with the positive mood among the squad, and feels that “Luis Enrique is making sure that all of the players get involved … Munir really showed how good he is. He is a wonderful talent with great future ahead of him”..

Luis Enrique was the best signing this season” he continued. “He has accepted the challenge and Zubizarreta has done some very good work. The fans were chanting his name and that’ll boost his morale. He really is doing a wonderful job … And Messi is the best player in the world. He’s shown that once again. He scored, he provided an assist. That’s the Messi we all know”.

He was also asked to comment on his expectations for the season ahead, replying that “we have a lot of rivals in the league, but especially Atlético Madrid, the defending champion. They’ll be a very strong opponent. They deserve all of our respect, but then again, so do all of the teams”.

 In the past we have committed certain irregularities but always respecting the spirit of the regulation

He was also quizzed about club’s appeal against the ban on the signing of any new players. “We were aware that FIFA would ratify its sanction” he admitted. “In the past we have committed certain irregularities but always respecting the spirit of the regulation. And we knew that we’d end up going to the CAS, and now that time has come.” And the club is doing so because, as Bartomeu insists, the penalty is disproportionate.

He adds that Barça had planned for the season “in the knowledge that we might not be able to make signings in the next two transfer windows [winter and summer] and that at the same time there was a pressing need to renew the squad.  … It was highly unlikely that the tribunal would not ratify a sanction that had already been imposed. It was only to be expected … But the penalty is far too big.” Neither is the president closing the doors to new signings. “There are still a few days to go and we’ll be eyeing the market” he said. “Let’s see what happens over the next few days”.

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