Perhaps the Barcelona player that best symbolised the reign of disgraced president Josep Maria Bartomeu is Matheus Fernandes. The Brazilian saw his contract with the club rescinded on June 29th after a career at Camp Nou that saw him play just 17 minutes according to Diario AS and never get officially presented.
Speaking to Globoesporte, Fernandes made clear his dismissal came as a shock. “I didn’t know, and when they told me I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
“I was at home, I was going out with my wife and I received a message from the club asking if I had the same email address. I confirmed and then received it.
“I didn’t understand it, I sent it to my manager and lawyer. They said it was my dismissal. Time passed and my name came out in the press. No conversation, nothing, they didn’t even call to say hello and goodbye.
“I always had the dream as a child to play for Barcelona. When I got there, they didn’t treat me as a footballer. I told the director that he didn’t treat me like a professional Barcelona player.
“I was a Barcelona player, and I wanted to be treated like one. The other signings had a presentation and I didn’t. I was upset. Looking at it from the outside I thought one thing but when I got there they treated me differently.”
Barcelona terminated the Brazilian midfielder’s contract after paying a fixed sum of seven million euros plus a further three in variables to Palmeiras for his services in the summer of 2020.
Fernandes arrived touted as a long-term replacement for Sergio Busquets, but left as the first Barcelona signing in modern history to not have been presented upon signing; his contract had supposed to run to 2025. Fernandes sole appearance came in a dead-rubber with Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League.
The decision comes as part of an effort by president Joan Laporta and sporting director Mateu Alemany to reduce Barcelona’s wage bill and clear the deadwood. They need to do so to register their new signings and renew Lionel Messi’s contract.