Barcelona planning for post-Messi era, says club president Josep Maria Bartomeu
Last Updated: 28/07/19 5:25pm
Barcelona are preparing for life without talismanic forward Lionel Messi, says club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
The Spanish champions have completed three of the most expensive six transfers ever over recent years with Antoine Griezmann joining previously-signed pair Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele at the Nou Camp this summer.
And although there is no suggestion 32-year-old Messi is set to hang up his boots anytime soon, Bartomeu says the club have 'an obligation' to minimise the loss when he does.
"We think it is our obligation to work on the post-Messi era," Bartomeu said.
"We are thinking about a post-Messi era because we are bringing in new players...
"We have to think about this changing era when Messi will give up playing football but, as president, I hope that he is going to [play with us for many more successful years]."
Atletico Madrid have 'no case' over Griezmann
Bartomeu also dismissed Atletico's allegation the Catalan club had not paid enough to trigger Griezmann's release clause, asking La Liga to block the player's registration.
Atletico claim the deal was made before July 1, when his release clause was £180m, and not after when it was brought down to £108m.
However, Bartomeu said: "A few days ago, they asked me the same question in Barcelona and I said 'it is nothing, it is something that is normal.'
"Normally when a player changes club, the club that doesn't want to lose a player, then they don't like it. Like we don't like it sometimes when a player leaves and we want him to stay.
"But, there is nothing, this is something that happens in the football industry, something that happens between clubs and for me, no, it isn't a problem at all."