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Jun 12, 2014

Bartomeu vows to build 'new Barca'

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has said he is working hard to build "a new Barca" for next season.

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This summer is set to feature numerous comings and goings at the Camp Nou, with many of the old guard who racked up trophies over recent seasons moving on and big name arrivals looking likely.

Long-serving goalkeeper Victor Valdes has left, centre-half Carles Puyol has retired and there are question marks over the futures of Dani Alves, Xavi Hernandez, Cesc Fabregas, Alexis Sanchez and even talisman Lionel Messi.

Meanwhile, new faces include coach Luis Enrique, German goalkeeper Andre Ter-Stegen and youngsters Rafinha and Gerard Deulofeu, who have returned after impressing on loan.

Deals are reportedly close for Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic, Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos and Real Sociedad goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, while speculation over more ambitious moves for Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke and Borussia Dortmund attacker Marco Reus continues.

Bartomeu told a meeting of senior club figures, reported on the official Barca website, that he was confident the club were taking the right steps in what he said was a "decisive moment."

"We must be self-critical," he said. "We only won one trophy [the Spanish Supercopa], but we battled for the others almost until the end. We find ourselves in decisive moment to build a new Barca. I promise you it will be a team which will galvanise the fans.

"We are working from the base to construct a great Barca. The first stone, Luis Enrique, we already have. He is the ideal person to guide us again towards success."

Bartomeu said the club -- which despite debts of over 300 million euros is going ahead with a 600 million euros rebuild of the Camp Nou -- was financially well set up for a rebuilding of the squad.

"We can take on a restructuring of the squad that guarantees athletic excellence," he said. "We will once again surpass 500 million euros in revenue this year. We expect to stay within budget and we will close out the fiscal year with approximately 30 million euros in profit after taxes. Our club is economically strong."

And he hit back at critics of the current board and said he and his fellow board members would see out the remaining two years of their term.

"A lot of things were said which could make you think that good work is not being done at the club -- but that is not true," he added. "Barca is great, and will overcome these moments. We are aware of our responsibility. I took that responsibility to lead the club, and I will do so until 2016."

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