It is undoubted. The president with whom Leo Messi has had the most disagreements since he debuted in the Barça first team, is Josep Maria Bartomeu. The top Barcelona leader, who took the reins of the club in January 2014, after Sandro Rosell presented his resignation, has seen how his term was seen again and again startled by different crashes with the crack.
When it came to extending his contract, the negotiation always seemed to go on forever. Finally, however, at least until this year, it came to fruition. The income of the player, considered the best footballer in the world, was growing. And, in the renewal he signed in November 2017, a clause was stipulated that has been keeping the club in suspense in recent summers: at the end of each season, Messi could unilaterally leave the entity.
The fact that the captain had the door open to leave has stuck like a sword of Damocles over the head of a Bartomeu who has breathed relief every time the player jumped to the fore to reiterate his continuity. Time and again, Messi has repeated that his intention was to stay at Barça as long as the club wanted him. Things seem to have changed. Right now, despite meeting Ronald Koeman, he looks more outside than inside.
The humiliating elimination against Bayern is the straw that broke the camel’s back. The Argentine, perplexed for a long time with the sports decisions taken under Bartomeu, has reached the limit. He did not understand that everything possible was not done to retain Neymar and neither that the chances of recovering him were not rushed last summer. In his place, Antoine Griezmann arrived, to whom the heavyweights of the locker room waited with open arms two years ago, but who apparently still has a toll on the scared of 2018.
Nor did it sit well with him that Eric Abidal put him in the spotlight after the dismissal of Ernesto Valverde and the signing of Quique Setién, who closed the season in white. At the beginning of the year, Messi issued a serious warning. “Thus, it is difficult for him to give us for the Champions League,” said the Argentine. “People are angry about how the season was, and so are we. We come from Rome, Liverpool, people are losing patience and it is normal. We don’t forget anything, “he insisted after falling to Osasuna. The striker slightly buried the hatchet to face the Champions League, but Bayern gave them a cruel reality bath.
Five years have passed since the Berlin Champions League. The culmination of a triplet that would catapult Bartomeu to victory in 2015. Since then, Barça has been unable to pass the quarter-finals in Europe. Messi may understand that the president must step aside, as Gerard Piqué dropped after deletion. Within the board, the great obsession is to balance the numbers and thus avoid the drink of guaranteeing possible losses. The fact of calling the next elections for March 15 of next year will also allow them to close the 2020-21 season. Something for which, in fact, it would not be necessary for Bartomeu to continue at the foot of the gun. The statutes contemplate the possibility that the top leader leaves the entity and a vice president takes command, as it already happened after Rosell’s resignation in 2014. But the president of Barça does not even think of that. At least not yet. Meanwhile, he maintains a pulse with the best player in the history of Barça.