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Former Barcelona president Bartomeu responded to Laporta’s comment 

Joan Laporta had accused Josep Maria Bartomeu of being a “disastrous” Barcelona president, but the former president has now responded. Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu defended his term at the club, claiming to have presided over a “serious and responsible” period.

Bartomeu stepped down in October 2020 after nearly seven years as Barcelona’s president, following a vote of no confidence in his leadership. Under his presidency, the Spanish football club won a slew of big awards, including the Champions League in 2015, just as doubts about the club’s transfer policy began to surface.

There has been a continuous deterioration in recent years since Laporta took control from Bartomeu in March, and the Catalan giants’ financial woes have been exposed. The club’s overall debt has risen to €1.35 billion, and they have been unable to fulfill a contract with Lionel Messi that was reached during the most recent transfer window.

Laporta said that Bartomeu was to blame for the club’s “disastrous” management following Messi’s surprise departure in August. Since leaving the club Bartomeu, in his first interview, has emphasized some of the positive aspects of his turbulent time. “Has our management been disastrous? I know it’s a phrase that’s been running but our management has been very serious and responsible,” he told Mundo Deportivo.

“It was rigorous with a project and strategic plan that was established in 2015. Sports management and the entire heritage project prevailed, economically and socially. We’ve done many projects and we’re the board that’s been most active. But as of March 2020, that serious and rigorous management was truncated by the appearance of the coronavirus pandemic, which drastically decreased revenues.”

“From then on we suffered from a deep cut.” Asked again about Laporta’s comments, Bartomeu said: “It has not been disastrous. There have been benefits of about €185m. It has been a good management. Forbes magazine said that in 2020 the club was the most valuable in the world.”

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