The season has not gone according to the plan for Barcelona and their President Josep Maria Bartomeu has always been under huge criticism. But he remains and calm and composed despite the pressure he faced from the Catalan press and Barca fans.
The La Liga season has ended, but still, the Champions League is there and a lot of work left to be done to fix the house for the new season.
Bartomeu gave an interview to Mundo Deportivo.
Here are the excerpts:
On the Champions League
Napoli are up first. The last few days have seen internal self-criticism and I think it has helped to renew energies for this unique Champions League format in an atypical and exceptional season. Barca are always a favourite in any championship 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 they know, to play football well.
On Quique Setien
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.
Despite not having won the league, which would have been a spectacular nine from 12 – after eight from 11, which is already a record – you have to look forward.
We already have seven new players. We have bet on Trincao, Pedrito and Matheus for the future, and they will have first-team numbers alongside Araujo, Riqui and Ansu. Pjanic will consolidate from the beginning.
If there are no player exchanges, it’s very difficult for Neymar to come.
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.
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 Suarez has a contract that, depending on the number of games he plays, he is automatically renewed for the 2021-22 season.
The budget for next season and the management of Covid-19
Players have adapted their salaries to the level of income the club has now and will have in the future. Everyone understands the situation.
I want to thank everyone because in March, April, and May the teams reduced their salary by up to 12%.
We are matching expenses to income and until we know the effect on the workforce, we will not decide anything.
In our Strategic Plan, we had planned to bank 1,100 million euros and now we will bank 30% less because of Covid-19.
The pandemic affects the big European clubs and Barça, which is the European club that makes the most money, is the one that is most affected.
The Strategic Plan did not foresee a pandemic and we have had to make decisions, such as strengthening the Digital Area with the OTT of Barça Studios and the electronic commerce platform.
Possible promotion for Barca B
We all know the great difficulty in gaining promotion. Getting to the Segunda A opens up different possibilities, including more income.
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.