Josep Maria Bartomeu answered many questions about FC Barcelona’s discharge and renewal policy for the Barca first team and the contribution of the youth team. Who will gain weight next season with the final promotion to Ronald Araujo’s first team, Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati.
Will Messi renew?
Messi has said many times that he wants to retire here and I have no doubt that he will renew.
Do you have a fluid relationship with him?
Yes, I have a lot with the captains.
Which renovations are a priority?
For me, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen’s. Not only for his quality as a goalkeeper but for his personality as a player, his way of being and relating. It is a prop of the wardrobe and the future. To be a goalkeeper, he is very young and already in the elite. And at 28 he is one of the three best in the world.
Is it true that you will earn less than more on your new pandemic contract?
He understands what is happening in society and knows that given the decrease in income in clubs like Barca, he must adjust his salary. All the players are doing it and we are working on it.
So they will charge less now?
I don’t go into figures. I say that they adapt their salaries to the level of income the club has now and will have in the future. Every player is being worked on. Everyone understands it.
Have you returned to request a salary reduction to the workforce?
No, I want to thank that in March, April and May the teams have reduced their salary by up to 12%. Yes, we are adjusting expenses to income and until we know how the workforce is, we will not decide anything.
Luis Suarez is free in 2021, are there plans to renew him?
Luis has a contract that, depending on the number of games he plays, automatically renews for the 2021-22 season.
Sandro Rosell has said that “the Barca squad commands too much. Do you agree?
I know Sandro very well and I know what he means. We always ask the players and captains for their opinion and also executives from different areas. But in the end, the last decision is always made by the board of directors.
Are you still being asked to sign Neymar?
Now we are making decisions and the players, if they do not come from the exchange of footballers, it is very difficult for them to come.
He said they had spoken to Inter for Lautaro Martinez.
Yes, we have spoken with Inter but now the issue is stopped.
We always ask the players and captains for their opinion and also executives from different areas. But in the end, the last decision is made by the board of directors always
Is it still a priority signing?
Now the concentration in the sports part is in this Champions that comes to us now.
Many young people will come next season.
Yes, we already have seven new players. In January Barca made a series of bets for the future and since we made them, people are seeing the quality they have. Pedri, who is a young player with incredible talent. Trincao, who was very unknown, we signed him in January and he is already the best U-21 in Europe. And Matheus Fernandes, who has played little because he has had some problems with the roles to come to Spain, already has them in order and has had few appearances but quality in Valladolid. And Pjanic is a player who will surely come and consolidate at minute zero in the first team. It is very exciting to see Barca B players coming up. From Araujo, center-back who will surely have a file from the first team, Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati.
Will all three have it?
For these players, due to their evolution and current training, they have to have a first-team record. I think it is good news for Barcelona that B returns to bring players to the first team. La Masia does a sometimes dark, little-known job, but there are very good players like Collado, like Monchu, who have a very good future.
There is also Inaki Pena.
It was key in the penalties against Badajoz. He trains continuously with the first team and has a future at Barca. But he has Ter Stegen, one of the three best goalkeepers in the world, and Neto, who is in the top ten. But Inaki must continue with his training project at Barca, either at B, as a third goalkeeper or on loan. It is good news for Barcelona that B again contribute players to the first team
What would it mean for Barca B to go up to Segunda A today?
I was in the Sant Andreu field when we climbed to Segunda A in 2010 and I know how difficult it is to climb. For the formation of the players, it is the same to go up than not. Climbing to Second A opens different possibilities, more income, you enter the professional soccer league and that gives you two votes.
And at the training level?
It is indifferent to be. This is the case of Araujo, Riqui, and Ansu, who have gone from youth directly to the first team. And our goal is to train players to play, not to do business with them. In this sense, I have always said it: I am a supporter of the league of subsidiaries until the age of 21, where Barca faces the subsidiaries of other clubs. For example, the Youth League is a success of UEFA because it is very good for training, players of the same age from other countries face, they travel, there are concentrations. And Barça has won it twice, it is one of the teams that has won it the most. A-League of subsidiaries up to 21 years old, having one or two older reinforcements, as they do in the Olympic Games with three footballers over 23 years old.