Ar­gen­tine lifts Barca’s mood, pres­sure on Bar­tomeu

New Straits Times - - Sport -


Barcelona pres­i­dent Josep Maria Bar­tomeu hailed Lionel Messi as the best player of all-time as the Ar­gen­tine lifted the mood at the cri­sis-rid­den Cata­lan gi­ants with a dou­ble in a 3-0 thrash­ing of Ju­ven­tus to start their Cham­pi­ons League cam­paign.

Messi also set up Barca’s sec­ond, scored by Ivan Rakitic, as Barca ex­acted re­venge for their 3-0 quar­ter-fi­nal de­feat by Ju­ven­tus in last sea­son’s Cham­pi­ons League quar­ter-fi­nals.

Bar­tomeu has faced re­peated calls for his res­ig­na­tion af­ter Ney­mar’s world record move to Paris Saint-Ger­main last month and Barca’s bun­gled at­tempts to re­place the Brazil­ian in the trans­fer mar­ket.

More­over, Messi is yet to sign an ex­ten­sion to his con­tract, which is due to ex­pire in June, de­spite Bar­tomeu’s in­sis­tence that an agree­ment in prin­ci­ple has been reached with the player.

“Leo Messi is unique, he is the best player in the his­tory of foot­ball and he has shown that again in the Cham­pi­ons League,” Bar­tomeu told Span­ish TV sta­tion MEGA.

“He shows is in ev­ery game, that is why he is the best.”

Messi has also led Barca to a per­fect start in La Liga af­ter three games, to open up an early four-point lead over ri­vals Real Madrid.

And Bar­tomeu claimed Barca’s start to the sea­son was rea­son for the club’s mem­bers to re­ject a vote of no con­fi­dence mo­tion against him launched by a for­mer pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Au­gusti Bened­ito.

“The vote of no con­fi­dence is some­thing that a mem­ber is try­ing to get off the ground,” added Bar­tomeu.

“He is within his right to do so, but I don’t think there are the ex­tra­or­di­nary con­di­tions for such a mo­tion.

“There is no sport­ing cri­sis be­cause we have started the project with Ernesto Valverde very well. Eco­nom­i­cally the club is in rude health with a record turnover.”

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