Sheffield United
West Bromwich Albion
11:45 AM UTC
Game Details

No recent activity

Barcelona hope to keep best players following Neymar sale - Bartomeu

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has told Bloomberg the club have no intention of selling any of their players in the summer, saying he wanted to avoid a repeat of the Neymar situation.

Barca were unable to prevent Neymar leaving for Paris Saint-Germain when they paid the Brazil international's €222 million buyout clause in August.

In a move designed to prevent a similar scenario arising, Barcelona have begin increasing the release clauses in some of their leading players' contracts.

Lionel Messi's buyout price has risen to €700m, while it would now cost €500m to sign Gerard Pique or Sergi Roberto, both of whom renewed their deals in the last month.

"I would like to say it's going to stay [at the current level] but I am not sure," Bartomeu said when asked whether the cost of players would continue to spiral.

"Because, all the time, more and more clubs are belonging to very rich people or to states who are investing a lot of money in football, and this money comes to the clubs.

"We try to keep our players, we don't want to sell. I hope that next summer nobody will come to buy our best players."

Even if a club was prepared to pay Messi's clause -- almost impossible to do while complying with UEFA financial fair play rules -- Bartomeu does not believe he would leave.

Messi signed a new deal in November, tying him to the club until 2021, and the president said it would not be his last.

"We don't want to sell," he added. "We are a club that want to have good football, we like to practice [the] unique football that we play, and Messi is key player.

"But the more important thing is he doesn't want to leave. He likes the city, it's his club, he came from Argentina at 12. You can have as many clauses as you want, but if a player doesn't want to leave he will stay.

"Andres Iniesta is an example. We want him here not as a player, but as a legend in the future, and with Messi I hope it's the same.

"Now he's got a four-year contract, but I don't think it will be his last."

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.