Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu on Neymar: 'No player is above Barca'
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has criticised Neymar's method of pushing for a move to Paris Saint-Germain and said that the Catalan club were in a win-win situation regarding his departure.
Bartomeu claims Barca were always relaxed about the issue because they were either going to retain Neymar or gain €222 million to invest in new players.
However, the Barca chief lamented the manner in which the Brazil international carried out his world-record move to the French capital.
"Before [speaking about the future], we want to close off a chapter from the past," he said at the annual supporters' club congress on Monday. "Neymar has formed part of our club, but he is now history. It's his decision, despite the fact we did everything in our power for him to stay.
"We always acted responsibly and while we do not share his decision, we do respect it -- although that's not to say we don't defend our own interests.
"Everything has its limit and no player is above Barca. [Neymar's] way of doing things was not the best. It was not befitting a Barcelona player."
Barca were disappointed with the way Neymar's move to PSG overshadowed their tour of the United States last month and his continued silence as everything unfolded -- despite asking him several times to comment on the matter.
There was also a dispute with the player and his father over a €26m payment relating to a signing bonus for last year's contract renewal. Barca confirmed last week that they would not make the payment.
However, despite the fractious ending to the relationship, Bartomeu said that the club were prepared for Neymar's exit and that they are already working on replacing the 25-year-old.
"We anticipated that Neymar could leave and that's why we increased his clause," Bartomeu added. "Whatever happened would have been good for Barca. If he stayed, we'd have been left with a great player and if he left we'd have got a great amount of money.
"With the money, we can now make signings, although we will administer the €222m with common sense. We will invest it in players and assets -- it won't all go on signings.
"We will bring in players. The first was [Nelson] Semedo, but of course, more will come. This year it won't be about the trident [Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez], we will be talking about the team."
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.