Dhe nerves have been on fire at FC Barcelona since Lionel Messi left the club this week. Angry fans broke into the Camp Nou stadium on Wednesday evening, where the board was holding a crisis meeting. They loudly called for the resignation of President Josep Maria Bartomeu and early board elections. The security personnel were completely surprised by the action, and the police who were summoned finally removed the protesters from the stadium.
According to Spanish media reports, the Bureau is looking for ways to get the Argentinean to rethink. But for many fans the only option would be to change at the top of the club. The relationship between Bartomeu and some of the players is broken, according to Spanish media reports. Again and again the president of the team promised things that he could not keep. In 2014 Bartomeu came to the top of the club, three years later Neymar went to Paris. The Catalans got 220 million euros for the Brazilian striker, but were never able to make up for the loss.
Bartomeu paid Borussia Dortmund almost 140 million euros for Ousmane Dembélé and promised that the young talent would be better than Neymar. But the Frenchman is often injured and had problems with discipline. Bartomeu has already spoken of a return from Neymar, but in the end Antoine Griezmann came in last season, who is still having problems getting used to it. Bartomeus’s bad luck with the new signings is most evident in the example of Coutinho. Bartomeu had kicked the Brazilian away from Liverpool in 2018 for 145 million euros, but loaned him to Bayern last year. For them he then scored two goals in the 8-2 win over Barça. Now he should come back.
However, the biggest disappointment in Bartomeu’s personnel policy for Messi was the change of coach in January. The president promised the team the return of former midfield conductor Xavi Hernández, who has been coach in Qatar so far, reports Spanish media. But in the end came Quique Setién, whom Messi and his friend Luis Suárez criticized more and more publicly over the course of the season. The new coach Ronald Koeman wants to build a new team around Messi, but without Messi’s closest friend Suárez.
Bartomeu does not want to know anything about early elections. His mandate ends next year, with an election in March. But the opposition in the club is forming: Jordi Farré, who has already announced his candidacy, initiates a vote of no confidence in Bartomeu. To do this, he has to get 16,000 supporters, 15 percent of the members, on his side within two weeks. Should he find these supporters, two-thirds would have to vote in an extraordinary meeting of delegates to replace the board.
Meanwhile, there are increasing indications of Messi’s move to Manchester City. The English have had a plan in hand since 2016 how they could sign the Argentine, reports the Spanish daily “El País”. According to the broadcaster ESPN, City Messi is offering a three-year contract and a subsequent retirement with sister club New York City FC. Messi and City coach Guardiola had their most successful time together at Barça (2008 to 2012). At that time they won 14 titles and won the Champions League twice. Messi won the trophy again in 2015, while Pep Guardiola won neither with Bayern nor with Manchester City.