Barcelona presidential candidate Emili Rousaud sat down in an interview with Ara – a Catalonia based newspaper – talking about his project and how he plans to dig out Barcelona of the massive hole they are in right now.
He spoke about a plethora of other topics, including Neymar, the financial situation, Bartomeu among other things. However, what caught the ears and eyes of Barcelona fans most was his statement regarding Lionel Messi and how he plans to convince him to stay.
“Do you think Messi will stay?”
“We will have to sit down with Messi and ask him for a salary sacrifice. Right now, with the wage bill, it is not sustainable. Messi has written the brightest pages in the history of the club, and we must honour legends. But the reality is what it is. We will ask for this sacrifice. And if there is finally no agreement, Messi will not be there.”
This is, inarguably, one of the boldest statements given out by any of the presidential candidates, likely as a PR move to attract attention to his campaign. Rousaud is not among the frontrunners for the election, with Joan Laporta and Victor Font leading the race, already having promise the socios and Barcelona fans that they will try their level best to keep Messi at the club.
If this season has shown anything, it is that the team cannot function without Messi on the pitch. There is no-one else who takes incentive on the pitch, and no-one who shows the fighting spirit that the Argentine does. Not right now, anyway. Stemming from that, keeping Messi at the club must be one of the top-most priority of any and all presidential candidates.
Ronald Araujo returns to Barcelona first-team training ahead of Sevilla clash
This Saturday afternoon, Barcelona will travel to Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan to face Sevilla for the control of the third place in the table. The Andalusians have already proved they are an incredibly tricky opponent so this clash is bound to be a big one once more.
But there is some good news for Ronald Koeman ahead of the Saturday challenge. Barcelona have officially confirmed that Ronald Araujo is once again training with the team. Of course, the centre-back has been out of action for quite some time now and the Catalans have missed him dearly.
He may be still young and developing but the Uruguayan is a true rock in their defence. Having him available should definitely help in the remainder of the season, especially since Gerard Pique is also back.
However, we still don’t know whether Koeman will risk his defensive talisman right from the start this Saturday, even if he is given the green light. Sometimes, throwing players into the fire immediately, especially for such a huge game, can be counterproductive.
Araujo is surely eager to play but Koeman needs to think long-term when making this tricky decision. Despite the opposition and the importance of the match, maybe it wouldn’t be that bad to start him on the bench.
After all, he can always be substituted in if the team requires some extra solidity in the latter parts of the clash. Hopefully, however, it doesn’t come to that.
Either way, this is a must-win game and the team better be ready to face the challenge.