Defender Bartra has no plans to leave Barcelona

Barcelona, July 24 (IANS) FC Barcelona’s Spain international defender Marc Bartra insists his future lies with the football club despite signs pointing to a move elsewhere.

Bartra played an important, albeit not a key role, in Barcelona’s treble last season. But the return to fitness of Thomas Vermaelen, who missed virtually the entire campaign because of injury, could limit his options still further. However, he is in demand from other clubs both in Spain and Europe, Xinhua reported on Friday.

But Bartra insists he has no plans to move.

“Every year people say the same things, but staying at Barca was and still is the only thing on my mind. I have everything I need here and feeling important in a team like this is special,” he said from San Francisco where Barcelona are on pre-season tour.

“I’m excited about the coming season and we were really looking forward to coming to the United States. We’ve realised how many Barca fans there are here and that makes us happy,” he added, pleased with the way the team’s pre-season is progressing.

“We are working well on fitness though we still need to improve certain aspects,” he said.

Bartra also criticised UEFA for its decision to fine Barcelona 30,000 euros for exhibiting pro-Catalan independence flags at the Champions League final in June.

“It was a wonderful final and it took place in a great atmosphere and the Barcelona fans don’t deserve a punishment like this.

“The fans were spectacular and don’t deserve this treatment. It’s not normal what they’ve done to Barcelona’s fans,” commented the defender, adding that the best thing was that Barcelona had “brought the Champions League back home”.

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