MADRID: Barcelona’s under-pressure president Josep Bartomeu is seeking to deflect attacks on him in his club’s favourite way, by blaming old enemies Real Madrid.
Last week Barcelona sources suggested that the world and European champions had been behind revelations that Barcelona and the Spanish federation had flouted international rules about the signing of youth players from abroad.
Now Bartomeu has blamed Madrid for sparking the legal inquiry into the Neymar transfer deal which led to the presidential resignation of Sandro Rosell.
In due course Barcelona may blame Madrid for the tax problems of Leo Messi and uncertainty over whether the Catalan club will split their Qatari sponsors or incorporate them through the sale of naming rights to Camp Nou.
Barcelona beat Madrid to the signing of Brazil star Neymar in the summer of 2013. They claimed having spent €57.1m but the gross expenditure was later revealed at around €86.2m. Both Bartomeu and Rosell remain at risk of course action.
Bartomeu said: “The big question here is what’s going on? Neymar had two offers, one from Madrid and one from Barca. Neymar was playing well a year ago and all of a sudden there was a complaint we had misappropriated funds in the deal. Maybe somebody didn’t like it that he was doing well.
“Now he’s playing great again and there’s another judicial action . . . I will not say Real Madrid are behind all this, but Neymar had two offers. A year ago we provided the Camp Nou for the ‘Concert per la Llibertat’ (Concert for Freedom), we play in the Senyera [the Catalan flag]
“Maybe that hasn’t gone down well in the capital.”