The war of words between Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and Neymar has taken a nasty turn after the Spanish club’s chief launched a stinging attack on the Brazilian star for a lack of honesty following his world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain.
PSG shocked the footballing world when they paid Neymar’s stratospheric €222 million release clause rendering Barcelona powerless to hold on to the Brazilian, who himself was keen to make a switch to the La Liga giants, who smashed all transfer records.
And since the Brazilian’s move to PSG, Bartomeu and Neymar have slammed each other via the media, with the former Santos player labelling the 54-year-old a “joke” in a recent interview.
Now Bartomeu has spoken his heart out on Neymar’s apparent lack of honesty over wanting to make a switch, with the Barca bosses expecting him to sign a new deal rather than move to PSG.
“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 or Cesc [Fabregas] did. We will not hurt a player that is not happy.”
Much like Neymar, Iniesta’s future at Barca appears less certain. The Spaniard has entered the final 12 months of his contract at the Nou Camp and he is yet to agree to a new deal.
Bartomeu accentuated the club wants to keep him but admitted that the final call will be taken by Iniesta – whether he wants to stay and play for the club or to move elsewhere as a free agent next summer.
“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’.”
The Barca chief also spoke about Ousmane Dembele, who is set to be out for four months after suffering a hamstring tear in Saturday’s victory over Getafe.
“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.”