FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has explained the reasons why he decided to reject the transfer request by Lionel Messi this summer. The Argentinian shocked the world when he announced he wanted to leave the Catalan giants but Bartomeu decided he would not allow Messi to leave the club. Two months later Bartomeu says he expected he would receive many criticism for his actions but also insitsts that he simply could not allow the forward to leave after a disappointing season.
“Our priority was keeping Messi as part of our new project so I decided against starting a discussion,” he said. “I had been accused of forcing his departure in order to balance our books. Well, no, we put the interests of the club first and didn’t want to reinforce a direct rival. We made that decision knowing that we would be criticised for it.”
“I understand the positions of everyone, empathising is important”, Bartomeu added. “In the case of Leo, it is good to get angry because it is not good to accept defeat and we have all gotten angry. But there was a deadline for him to announce whether or not he was going unilaterally. He didn’t and here it is. We all want him to retire at Barca.”