The prelude to Saturday's Barça-Eibar game began with a massive show of discontent from home fans towards club president Bartomeu. The supporters reacted in this manner following the latest negative episode involving the board when it emerged that a social media 'influencer' agency had been hired to post messages in favour of the directors and post messages with a negative connotation against 'perceived' enemies of the board. A surreal situation with a knock-on effect on the likes of club legends such as Xavi, Guardiola, Messi or Piqué. The subsequent explications offered by the club were lacking clarity and the incident saw the departure of Jaume Masferrer, a now, former director who worked closely with Bartomeu.
Power, Corruption and Lies
The Barcelona story isn't that far removed from Florentino Pérez's creation of a website (www.diariobernabeu.com) which also served as a media tool to fuel the interest of the Bernabéu board. A reporter from the site, once asked Ancelotti at a press conference why he didn't use Gareth Bale with greater regularity and there were a number of editorial pieces aimed at certain high profile referees with articles also created to undermine former club president Ramón Calderón. This information came to light during the police operation (Caso Púnica) which ran from 2014-2018 and dealt primarily with municipal and regional government corruption which affected the club over the sale of the former training ground in the north of the capital.
Florentino Pérez: Here to stay
Maybe this case inspired Bartomeu, as he behaved somewhat like the sorcerer's apprentice. It does appear that the situation ran out of his control as there is no way to explain how the likes of Messi's wife came under-fire in the social media posts. The case involving Real Madrid some years back passed under the radar to a point as it's seen that Florentino Pérez as being very much the owner of the club (although he isn't) but the president is surrounded by a group of individuals with a great deal of influence with Spanish high ranking political figures no strangers to the VIP sector at the Bernabéu. Bartomeu, on the other hand, is seen as something of a transitory figure, swimming against both a tide of Catalan media and club supporters and "socios". Messi, one of the players affected by this episode did has talking on the pitch by bagging four goals but there was nowhere for Bartomeu to avoid the negative Camp Nou reception.