The highs and (many) lows of Josep Maria Bartomeu’s tenure at Barcelona

After six eventful years, Josep Maria Bartomeu’s tenure at the Camp Nou has finally come to an end.

During his time on the throne, Barcelona won four La Liga titles and the 2014/15 Champions League, which sounds great, right? Yes, it’s a good return, but the fact that it was balanced with millions of bigger problems and less hope for the future meant that it was hardly worth it.

Let’s take a trip to remember all the highs of Bartomeu’s time in charge.

Bartomeu takes over from the departing Rozal / David Ramos / Getty Images

This is where it all started. Bartomeu, who previously served as director of Barcelona’s basketball team, became club president in January 2014 following the resignation of Sandro Rosell.

Rosell chose to leave in 2013 after Barcelona were investigated for fraud over the purchase of Neymar, in what became known as ‘The Neymar Case’.

Barcelona topped the world in 2015 / Chris Brunskill Limited / Getty Images

At the end of Bartomeu’s first full season in charge at the Camp Nou, Barcelona lifted the Champions League trophy and completed a historic treble, having won La Liga and the Copa del Rey just weeks before.

The presidential election was held in July, and given the impressive achievements on the pitch, Bartomeu’s landslide victory was no surprise.

Turan could not play for six months /VI-Images/Getty Images

Despite a transfer ban that meant new players could not be registered until January 2016, Barcelona splashed out €65m on Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan in the summer of 2015.

Both players, who sat on the sidelines for six months, didn’t immediately look like a waste of money, but their impact was minimal and both were sold for massive losses just a few years later. went, suggesting what the board did not actually know. they were doing.

Bartomeu avoids accusation in Neymar case / PowerSports Images / Getty Images

While Rosell chose to leave because of the Neymar case, Bartomeu stayed and fought. However, instead of fighting to disprove the charges, he was focused on exonerating himself.

Bartomeu agreed a deal with prosecutors that would ensure both he and Rosel would be found innocent, rather than Barcelona as a club being blamed.

He avoided a €3.8m fine and a possible prison sentence and instead agreed to pay Barcelona €5m.

La Masia was completely transformed / JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images

In an attempt to revive the iconic academy that meant so much to Barcelona, ​​Bartomeu unveiled the ‘Masia 360’ project in 2016, which aims to revolutionize everything from accommodation and food to philosophy and personal development. was designed for

It ended up being a complete waste of money, with fans and young players disillusioned with how Bartomeu effectively uprooted the club for no reason.

Neymar’s exit sparks uproar / AFP Contributor/Getty Images

This is where things really start to go downhill. Barcelona sold Neymar to PSG after the French side paid his €222m release clause, and fans were soon furious with Bartomeu for not doing enough to stop him.

It also drew the dismay of the Camp Nou dressing room. Many players were incredibly close to Neymar, but even those who didn’t recognize that one of the best players in the world had just been allowed out the door. This should not happen at a club like Barcelona.

Signing Dembele didn’t work / AFP Contributor/Getty Images

Using the €222m gained from selling Neymar, Barcelona splashed €145m at Borussia Dortmund to sign young winger Ousmane Dembélé.

The Frenchman has struggled with injuries since arriving at the club and was heavily linked with a move away from the Camp Nou in the summer of 2020. Given how disastrous the deal turned out to be, Bartomeu’s transfer matters were once again in the spotlight.

Coutinho was incredibly expensive / Miquel Benitez / Getty Images

Billed as a replacement for Andrés Iniesta, Philippe Coutinho swapped Liverpool for Barcelona in January 2018 for £142m.

He immediately struggled to impress in midfield and was moved to the outside wing, where things hardly improved. He was heavily sent out on loan in 2019/20 as Barcelona scrambled to recoup their money, but Bayern Munich refused to sign him permanently and sent him back.

Barcelona win another league title / Socrates Images/Getty Images

Barcelona won the La Liga title back from Real Madrid in 2018/19, giving Bartomeu a little more confidence.

After all, surely their demolition of the club couldn’t be so bad if they were still the best team in Spain?

Griezmann hasn’t lived up to the hype / TF-Images/Getty Images

After chasing him for over a year, Barcelona finally got a deal for Antoine Griezmann over the line in July 2019, parting with €120m to complete the deal.

Immediate concerns about his fit with Lionel Messi were quickly justified as Griezmann looked like an average footballer. The humiliation grew as the Frenchman continued to tear it up on the international stage. The problem was clearly Barcelona.

Simmons’ exit proved there were problems with La Masia/TF-Images/Getty Images.

He may not have made a single senior appearance, but losing the then 16-year-old Xavi Simons to PSG in July 2019 really hurt.

Regarded as one of the most exciting midfielders of his age, Simeone was set to become a first-team star at the Camp Nou, and Barcelona should have no problem helping him see the way.

The board’s loss of confidence at La Masia was too much for Simeone, who followed Neymar to Paris.

Valverde’s exit looked unplanned / Eric Alonso/MB Media/Getty Images

Barcelona topped their Champions League group stage and topped La Liga heading into 2020, but a handful of poor performances saw Bartomeu pull the trigger on manager Ernesto Valverde – a decision many fans felt was too hasty. .

To make matters worse, it was leaked to the media that Valverde would be sacked, but Bartomeu made the boss wait all day while he found someone better than Quick Setien to replace him. Reluctantly (and unsuccessfully) to find out. There was no plan.

Bartomeu accused of paying people to praise him / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

A strange revelation from Bartomeu’s time at the club came in February 2020, when allegations emerged that the president had paid a social media firm to slander and defend players via anonymous social media accounts. .

After initially denying a connection with I3 Ventures, Bartomeu eventually admitted to hiring the firm for social media ‘monitoring’, and although Barcelona were cleared of any wrongdoing, Doubts persist to this day.

Messi questions the board’s attitude / Alex Caparros/Getty Images

After Barcelona’s squad agreed to take a 70% pay cut as the COVID-19 pandemic crippled Barcelona’s finances, Lionel Messi took to Instagram to express his dismay at what he felt was a growing backlash within the club. He was under pressure to make a decision that he was always going to make. .

His reasoning was that the players felt insulted by the idea that they should take a pay cut when they were always willing to sacrifice some income. It was a lack of modesty that undid the squad.

Leaving Arthur was an unpopular move / D’Foddy Images / Getty Images

Brazilian midfielder Arthur, seen by many as a future star at the club, was loaned to Juventus in exchange for 30-year-old Miralem Pjanic, who showed clear signs of decline last year.

Not only was Bartomeu clearly only thinking about the short term, he wasn’t doing that well either.

Defeat to Bayern was the club’s worst result in recent history / Poll / Getty Images

Bartomeu may not have been directly responsible for the humiliating 8-2 defeat by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, but the defeat highlighted every way the team had fallen in recent years.

The effects of poor signings (the Bartomeu fault), poor managerial appointments (the Bartomeu fault) and a general lack of coordination (the massive Bartomeu fault) were clear for all to see.

Messi tried to jump ship immediately after the loss / Pool / Getty Images

Bartomeu’s frustration increased tenfold when Messi revealed he wanted to leave Barcelona.

It was clear that the tension from the fans was shared by the club’s greatest ever player and if Bartomeu was unconsciously forcing Messi out of the club then he had to go.

Suarez felt forced out of the club / Socrates Images / Getty Images

Legendary striker Luis Suarez has claimed he was forced out of the club as Barcelona tried to cut ties with the aging frontman.

Despite being one of the world’s top forwards, he was unceremoniously taken through the back door to Atlético Madrid, who signed him up for pocket change.

Bartomeu was almost kicked out of the club / Quality Sport Images / Getty Images

With fans and club members sick and tired of Bartomeu, a motion of no confidence was brought against the president to oust him prematurely.

Thousands of signatures were collected for the vote, but Bartomeu did his best to delay the election.

The squad was concerned about being forced to change their salary / Alex Caperros/Getty Images

Just as with the initial pay cut dispute, the Barcelona squad were hit with a letter stating that they were going to agree to a wage deferral and that they had to agree to its terms. It’s only a few weeks.

Unsurprisingly, the players were unhappy about being backed into a corner, but they were also stunned that despite only picking up 3% of the club’s expenses compared to 70% for the club’s non-playing staff, their Wages are being forced down. Player Salaries

Bartomeu resigns before being forced out / Secret Images / Getty Images

Rather than being thrown overboard, Bartomeu chose to take the plunge on October 27, 2020, resigning from his position to end all the chaos.

For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

Leave a Comment