Cruyff: Barca problems are at the top

Johan Cruyff has said the Barcelona board should take most of the responsibility for the club’s elimination from the Champions League.

The former Barca player and Coach has been quoted by Sport as saying that while Tata Martino and the players deserve some criticism for the two-legged defeat against Atletico Madrid, the real problems started a long time ago.

“I’m sad, but not angry, no,” Cruyff said at the opening of a new store in the city.

“Barca did what they could in the two games. It doesn’t make sense. Blame a player or the Coach. Everyone does what the directors say.

“I said a long time ago, whoever decides your team is the Coach and for four years it’s not been the Coach of the club.

“What is happening is logical. The first thing done by this directive was to sell a player [Pep] Guardiola wanted. And from then on, who’s the boss? The Coach?”

Cruyff added that the player to whom he was referring was Shakhtar Donetsk’s Dymtro Chygrynski, who spent a single season at Camp Nou between 2009 and 2010.

“[Sporting director] Andoni Zubizarreta sold Chygrynski against the will of the Coach. The first problems started with Guardiola,” Cruyff insisted.

“Martino is doing what he can but it’s hard when you have to be in charge but not be in charge.”

Cruyff has spoken out against the current regime before and was critical of the signing of Neymar. He argued however that he wasn’t critical of the player, who he feels is the real victim in the saga relating to his transfer from Santos because of mismanagement from above.

“One day I said something about Neymar and I was told I criticised Neymar,” Cruyff said.

“Neymar is the one hurt most by all that is happening. He is the victim and it’s very hard to comment on something when you don’t know how the locker room works.

“He is a victim of money, his manager and his club.

“Again, if you don’t know how the club functions, how a locker room works, you don’t know that it’s wrong.

“It’s not one detail, it’s many details. It’s the Coach who makes players better so the Coach has to decide things.

“Lionel Messi should be the best paid player in the world,” Cruyff said in regard to the Argentine’s protracted contract negotiations.

“They’ve had four years and it’s getting worse,” Cruyff said of the direction of the current regime, after Sandro Rosell was replaced by Josep Maria Bartomeu.

“The solution? Normally a good solution would be to have elections.

“If people didn’t vote and now there are tough decisions to be made on the pitch, someone has to decide who will be here for many years. It has to be included in an election.”

Tags Johan Cruyff Lionel Messi Neymar Tata Martino