Josep Maria Bartomeu shared the renewal of Dani Alves, Luis Enrique and Neymar and other issues Barcelona faced in 2015.
Bartomeu spoke to Mundo Deportivo after his part in the club’s successful 12 months was recognised at the Globe Soccer awards, and noted the signings the club made despite their transfer embargo.
“Aleix Vidal is a player we took time following and had the advantage of having already been in our house,” he said of the wide man brought in from Sevilla, who was formerly on Barca’s books.
“He’s young, a fighter and he has experience and I’m sure when he makes his debut from January 4 we’ll like him.
“Arda Turan is a signing I started as President, agreed with Enrique, and it was ended under the management board [after Bartomeu called elections]. He’s a quality player with a great personality and character and has a whole country behind him. He’s the man in Turkey.
“We don’t choose players for the marketing, the decision is always sporting, but if it matches, the better.
“The [election] candidates didn’t like [Arda’s signing], knowing Enrique had asked for him, they made it difficult. Enrique earned the Arda signing.”
Enrique’s contract renewal, confirmed moments before Bartomeu announced elections, was also controversial in its timing, and the President touched on that subject too.
“It wasn’t good to go into elections with a Coach with a year on his contract. We had an obligation to ensure his continuity,” Bartomeu insisted.
“I was surprised when some of the candidates doubted Lucho.”
Enrique’s contract renewal was followed by new terms for Dani Alves, while negotiations for Neymar are yet to get going, as Bartomeu moved to the Brazilians.
“Alves is a player very committed to the club. These were the hardest negotiations as President, just as Cesc Fabregas’ negotiations were hardest as Vice-President,” he revealed.
“I think it was a good renewal [for Alves] and for the club. I have a very good relationship with him, regardless of his quality as a player which is undeniable, he brings good vibes to the locker room and is an important part of the group.
“We’re now focused on the end of the season and the competitions, though I think it would be good if [Neymar’s renewal] was done towards the end of the season so as not to be distracted.
“Barca want Neymar to retire here and he is happy at the club, in the city, with his teammates, so hopefully he stays until he retires.”
Neymar forms one third of Barca’s feared trident, with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, Bartomeu highlighting the forwards’ contributions.
“We have [Andres] Iniesta, [Gerard] Pique, [Sergio] Busquets…all great players, but being able to put together three players such as Messi, Neymar and Suarez is unique,” he continued.
“I’ve never seen players of this quality and they have such a good understanding. We have the best trident in football history, for sure.
“The image of the three is one of success but behind it is a lot of work and effort. We fought to bring Neymar and then Suarez, and there was criticism but no one remembers now what we paid. His contribution is impeccable.
“The secret of the good feeling? What I see is that they like their profession, enjoy playing football, and they know that three together are stronger than individually.”