Argentine lifts Barca’s mood, pressure on Bartomeu
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.”