Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has no concerns that star players could be tempted away from Camp Nou by the riches of Manchester City.
With Pep Guardiola set to take charge of the Premier League outfit at the end of the season, speculation has mounted that he could look to raid his former club as part of a squad overhaul bankrolled by City’s billionaire owners.
Lionel Messi has been linked with a sensational move to the Etihad Stadium in the past, while Neymar and Sergio Busquets have expressed their admiration for Guardiola’s methods, prompting rumours they could be tempted by a transfer.
Yet Bartomeu is adamant Barca will keep their best players and insists the lure of money alone will not be enough to see them move.
“We know Messi could earn more money in other teams, or Neymar, Busquets, Gerard Pique or Luis Suarez,” he told The Daily Mail. “Neymar, for example, when he came to Barcelona, had better offers from other teams. Suarez also had better offers.
“But they decided to come to Barcelona because I think this club attracts players, because we are more than a club.
“We take care of a lot of other things, being closer to children in the world, through UNICEF, through the Melinda Gates Foundation or through the International Olympic Committee in Africa, through projects with children. All of this creates an atmosphere that we are not only a football club. We are more than a club.
“We are confident because we know our players are very happy in our club, in our city. They enjoy sport, their profession, and they are in a group. So we are very confident those players are not moving, taking decisions because of money.
“Messi said a few days ago ‘Barcelona will be the only European club that I play for’. So if someone is interested in Messi, forget it. He said this. I didn’t say it. He said this.”
Neymar’s future continues to be subject to speculation as talks over a new contract show no sign of reaching a conclusion, yet Bartomeu has few concerns.
“All of our players are in a moment where we renew their contracts, we extend their contracts,” he said.
“Right now I don’t see that any of our players have to leave next summer. I cannot tell you if we have done it or not done it. But as a member of the board we are responsible people. We know what is best for our club. When something is done, we will announce it.”
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