In a recent interview with the Mundo Deportivo, Barça president Bartomeu talked about various topics including Messi, Neymar, Setién, Lautaro Martinez, and Ter Stegen. Here is what he had to say.
On the squad
“Barça are always a favorite in any tournament they play, especially seeing the winning spirit and competitive eagerness of our players. It is a very suitable moment to return and give a demonstration of talent and ambition of what the players know: playing football well”
On the Champions League
“Napoli are up first in the UCL. The last few days has seen internal self-criticism and I think it has helped to revitalize energies for this unique Champions League format in an exceptional season.”
“At no time has Setién’s continuity been up in the air. Simply put, the coach and the players must manage and talk to each other.”
On the current season
“Despite not having won the league, which would have been a spectacular nine from 12 – after eight from 11 which is already a record – we have to look forward.”
On the club’s transfer market business
“We already have seven new players. We have bet on Trincão, Pedri and Matheus for the future, and they will have first team numbers alongside Araujo, Riqui and Ansu. Pjanic will consolidate from the beginning.”
On Neymar’s return
“If there are no player exchanges, it’s very difficult for Neymar to come.”
On Lautaro Martinez
“We have spoken to Inter about Lautaro, but for now things are on hold.”
“Messi has said many times that he wants to retire here and I have no doubt that he will renew.”
On Ter Stegen
“Ter Stegen is an important member of the dressing room and for the future. At 28 he is one of the three best goalkeepers in the world, and is a priority to be renewed.”
“Luis Suárez has a contract that, depending on the number of games he plays, he is automatically renewed for the 2021/22 season.”
On the current financial situation
“I want to thank everyone because in March, April and May the teams reduced their salary by up to 12%. Players have adapted their salaries to the level of income the club has now and will have in the future. Everyone understands the situation. In our strategic plan we had planned to bank 1,100 million euros and now we will bank 30% less because of Covid-19.”
On La Masia
“Those at La Masia work hard and there are very good players like Collado or Monchu, who have a very good future. Our goal is to train players to play, not to do business with them.”
“Dembélé will surprise everyone in a season without injuries. He’s been unfortunate and he has had bad luck.”
On the Camp Nou’s renovation
“The Espai Barça project will cost around €800M. If it wasn’t for the pandemic, there would have been cranes in the Camp Nou by now. We’re close to reaching an agreement with two huge companies for the naming rights of the Camp Nou. I look forward to announcing it after the Champions League.”
“VAR is a powerful tool, but there have been different outcomes in similar situations.”
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Video: Barcelona vs Alavés — Match Preview
Barcelona take on Alavés in Matchday 6 of La Liga Santander, following a wonderful display and victory over Juventus midweek, in the Champions League. But Ronald Koeman’s side have already dropped big points in the league this season, and know that anything other than 3 points against the Basque outfit would be disastrous for our title aspirations.
This should be another good opportunity for Barça to showcase their abilities once more and build on that performance against Juventus, as Alavés are a considerably weaker side to the sort of opposition that the Catalans have had to face so far this campaign.
Having said that, Pablo Machín’s men will try and make life difficult for Barça, similar to what Getafe did, and Alavés will feel confident that with the right sort of game-plan, they can make Koeman’s side slip up in La Liga once more.