Bartomeu: ‘Messi better than ever’

Barcelona President Josep Bartomeu says Lionel Messi has started the season in better form than ever.

The Argentine has endured a challenging time on and off the field of late. As well as being found guilty of tax fraud, the 29-year-old lost the Copa America final for a second consecutive year with his national team. He subsequently retired from international duty before reversing his decision.

However, he has won the praise of Camp Nou chief Bartomeu with his early season performances, which have seen him score twice and collect an assist in two La Liga matches.

“Losing the Copa America final was a disappointment in addition to the tax issues he has had,” Bartomeu said during an interview with Tot Costa de Catalunya Radio.

“But Leo is very strong and very ambitious. He has come back better than ever.”

Bartomeu also discussed Barca’s transfer strategy, admitting that funds earmarked for future windows had been brought forward.

“We said that we would strengthen where we needed to. We have brought forward funds for investment from future years because we were able to.”

The Blaugrana’s next signing is all but certain to be Valencia’s Paco Alcacer, who passed a medical on Monday morning, but Bartomeu refused to confirm the deal.

“I can’t, there are still some things to talk about,” he said.

Finally, the President admitted the club were forced to accept defeat in their efforts to prevent goalkeeper Claudio Bravo joining Manchester City.

 “We tried until the end. We offered him a renewal but he didn’t accept it because he had other plans.”

Tags Bartomeu Claudio Bravo Manchester City Messi