Court will not abandon Neymar probe
The judicial investigation into the transfer of Neymar will continue despite Barcelona socio Jordi Cases apparently planning to withdraw the official complaint that led to Sandro Rosell’s exit as club president.
La Vanguardia, which broke the news last week that Rosell would resign, reported on Monday that club member Cases had decided to ask the court to withdraw his petition, as had been suggested last week.
However, as judge Pablo Ruz has already accepted there could be a case to answer over the “diversion” of monies related to the transfer, the matter must be now be investigated to a conclusion -- meaning Rosell, along with successor Jose Maria Bartomeu and Neymar’s father, could all still testify in a Madrid courtroom.
Bartomeu and fellow director Raul Sanheli said on Friday that a total of 86.2 million euros had been paid to the player’s father and his former club Santos in a variety of different ways, but the court is expected to examine the documentation signed by all parties.
Bartomeu has told RAC1 he believes Cases acted on his own initiative in making the initial complaint but suggested that others in the Spanish capital had been responsible for making the matter so public.
“I do not believe there is anyone behind Jordi Cases, but someone in Madrid has 'made this fly very high',” he said, in quotes reported by AS. “The complaint should have been made closer to home. They have tried to damage us, but they have not managed to.”
Speaking after opening the scoring in Sunday’s 3-0 La Liga home win over Malaga, Gerard Pique told Canal Plus that Barca’s players were mostly oblivious to what was going on elsewhere at the club.
“Very little of this reaches the pitch,” Pique said. “We keep competing the same as in all these years. It is something talked about and you notice it on the street, but on the pitch we just keep playing. We are professionals and try to win all the trophies.
“I do not know how [Rosell’s resignation] will affect the club -- it is a personal decision that was taken. Individuals come before any institution. If he wanted to step away and be with his family, that must be supported.”
Blaugrana coach Gerardo Martino admitted at his postmatch news conference, meanwhile, that it had been a “difficult week” but said these players had come through more serious issues before, such as illnesses to former coach Tito Vilanova and player Eric Abidal.
“During recent years they have faced much more serious problems -- health questions, with teammates and coaches -- and came through them,” Martino said. “They do not have to talk about it -- they must give their answer on the pitch. In a difficult week, they have shown a lot of professionalism and been very focused on their objective.”
Xavi Hernandez, whose 700-plus games for the club were recognised in the stadium before the game, told Mundo Deportivo that he appreciated all Rosell had done for the club, but it was now time to move on and back new chief 'Barto'.
“It has not been a typical week,” Xavi said. “The decision of president Sandro must be respected. It has not been an easy decision for him. I appreciate everything he brought to the dressing room, and did for ‘barcelonismo.’ And now we support Bartomeu. We are all in the same boat. 'Barto' is very close to us. We all have the same objective. We just focus on playing.”
Xavi said that it was “uncomfortable” for Neymar, is currently out of action until early February with a sprained ankle, to have his personal finances discussed in public but stressed that he would be given support by his teammates.
“Giving out all the details of a contract is something new,” he said. “It is confidential. For us [players] it is not so comfortable. We will help Neymar so it does not affect him.”