Barca boss: Neymar not bigger than club
Barcelona, Spain - Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted no player is bigger than the Catalan giants on Monday in the wake of Neymar's world record US$264mn move to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).
Bartomeu and his board are under pressure to wisely reinvest the huge sum, which more than doubled the previous record for a transfer fee, before the transfer window closes on August 31.
"No player is above Barca," Bartomeu told the world congress of Barca supporters groups. "You know that Neymar formed part of the success of our club, but Neymar is now history. He wanted to go. It was his decision although we did everything in our hands for him to stay."
Barca was powerless to stop Neymar leaving after PSG met the buyout clause in the Brazilian's contract, which he had signed just last year.
However, Bartomeu defended himself from criticism that the club should have insisted on inserting a much higher buyout clause in that deal to fend off PSG's millions.
Neymar's clause rose from US$236mn to US$264mn from July 1 and would have jumped to US$296mn had he entered the third year of the five-year deal.
"We foresaw that he could leave in the future, that is why we raised his buyout clause in the new contact," added Bartomeu.
Barca has been linked with a series of potential replacements for Neymar with Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho heading its wish list.
Yet, Bartomeu promised to be act with "prudence" despite having to deal in a transfer market characterised by hyperinflation due to booming television rights deals.
"The US$264mn that we received for Neymar Jr will be administered with prudence, rigour and serenity," he said.
Josep Maria Bartomeu