Madrid, Dec 12 (IANS) FC Barcelona President, Josep Bartomeu made a surprise statement that his club’s main rival was not any specific club in Spain or Europe, but the Barclays Premier League.
Bartomeu highlighted the economic power of the English competition in an interview with the Financial Times.
“Our rival is the Premier League,” said Bartomeu, adding he was not talking about “any specific club, but the strength of the Premier League in itself. The young players who are aged 16 are constantly getting very tempting offers from the Premier League and every year we lose some of them”.
Bartomeu said he was not so much worried about losing star players such as Leo Messi or Neymar to English football, but repeats of the moves which saw young players such as Cesc Fabregas in his day, and Hector Bellerin, who is now starring at Arsenal, decide to move to England, Xinhua news agency reported.
He added that some clubs now have billionaire owners and huge companies behind them to give extra financial weight and that meant Barca would have to look for a lucrative sponsor, rather than return to a deal which saw them pay to wear the Unicef logo on their shirts.
It was a “utopia” to believe that could happen again, commented Bartomeu, who set an important financial target.
“We want to be the first club to reach one billion euros a year in income … Barca is a global club, but the world is very big and we currently occupy very little space in it,” said the Barca President.