War of words between Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and Neymar shows no sign of stopping after the Catalan club’s chief attacked the Brazilian for a lack of honesty following his world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Ligue 1 giants PSG rocked football when they paid Neymar’s €222million release clause in August, leaving Barcelona powerless to his departure as the Parisians smashed the world record.
Bartomeu and Neymar have exchanged plenty of words via the media ever since, with the Brazil star even labelling the 54-year-old a “joke” in a recent interview.
Now Bartomeu has commented on Neymar’s apparent lack of honesty over wanting to move, with Barca previously expecting him to sign a new deal rather than head for the Parc des Princes.
“We believed them [Neymar and his advisors] too much,” Bartomeu told La2.
“When a player wants to leave he must be honest, as Alexis [Sanchez], Pedro [Rodriguez] or Cesc [Fabregas] did. We will not hurt a player that is not happy.”
Much like Neymar before him, there are also question marks over the future of club captain Andres Iniesta.
Bartomeu reiterated Barca’s stance in that they want to keep him, but he also accepted that the club is entirely at the mercy of Iniesta’s desires.
“He will decide how long he wants to stay,” Bartomeu added.
“We want to him to stay with the club and have a special contract, because he deserves to decide when he wants to leave.
“He is an inspiration for all and symbolises what we all want for the club. He is playing well and helping the team, and I think he is closer to telling us ‘yes’.”
Bartomeu also commented on Ousmane Dembele, who is set to be out for four months after suffering a hamstring tear in Saturday’s win at Getafe, with the president impressed by the 20-year-old’s confidence at this stage of his rehabilitation.
“He’ll be back and surely bring to the team exactly what we’ve seen in his first games,” he said.
“I have talked to him and, although he is disappointed, I have noticed that he is confident and optimistic about his recovery.”