Barcelona presidential candidate Agusti Benedito believes that the club’s board cannot be trusted and that they seriously considered selling star player Lionel Messi.
With speculation rife in January that Messi was going to leave for a blockbuster fee of £200 million, current president Josep Maria Bartomeu said that the superstar would be at the Nou Camp for many years to come.
But Benedito, talking to Goal.com, said that the board cannot be trusted because of their mixed messages.
“They have shown in the recent past that their public quotes don’t always correspond with their ideas,” the 50-year-old said. “Sometimes they say things and then their actions go in the opposite direction. I hope in Messi’s case that their words and their actions correspond.”
Messi has been reported to be upset in Spain, unhappy with the management of Luis Enrique, the declaration from vice-president Javier Faus said that there was “no need” to give him a new contract and the continued hounding by the Spanish tax authorities.
“I don’t think that was merely clumsiness,” Benedito said. “No, that was an indication of his real thinking. Perhaps they had other ideas, despite what they have said publicly. And it’s a worrying issue because at times it has seemed like they are really not concerned with keeping Messi happy. Some of their decisions, their quotes and their actions make me believe they were contemplating other possibilities.
“Messi has had really big offers from teams in different countries,” Benedito said. “But I believe he genuinely wishes to end his career at Barcelona. He has been here since the age of 13, the fans love him and what Messi wants is a competitive team that allows he and his team-mates to win trophies.
“So that is what is needed: to build a team in which Messi and all of the players can reach their maximum performance. We have to recover that level of excellence we achieved before.”
Of course, these words should be taken with a pinch of salt – Benedito may just be using the Messi speculation as a way to ingratiate himself to potential votes.