Messi and Bartomeu, players and the club

Football players are not the football club. For 90 minutes on match-day they loyally represent the club during a game, but for the rest of the week, they do not represent the club. They are a closed group who have a tendency to be suspicious or even hostile to their immediate environment...board of directors, coaching staff, media, the tax-man and even fans who they meet in the street with these people capable of jeering then if things don't go right on the pitch. By and large, these are rich young men who are idolised and surrounded by a team of people who hope to cash in on their respective success and this in turn can go some way in explaining certain patterns of behaviour. Before chastising this group it's important to appreciate their world before casting rash judgement.

Josep Maria Bartomeu

Sentimental memory bank

Players are not the club. A football club is sentimental memory bank, run and administered by individuals who are always under the spotlight from the fans and the players alike. This is perhaps somewhat unfair as there are plenty in positions of power at clubs who work well and do all in their power to ensure that the playing squad are paid handsomely and are lavished with every commodity. This is nothing new in the game. Two individuals who were around in the Bernabéu era (one of the pair still alive today), told me that if Don Santiago were alive today to see that Real Madrid had made Di Stefano an honorary president it would be enough to finish him off. He felt the Argentine was a role model on the pitch but insufferable away from it and this was something that shone through in an editorial article he wrote in the official club journal.

Lionel Messi

Neymar Camp Nou return

What is currently happening at Barcelona is nothing strange but certainly more visible given the high global profile that captain Leo Messi commands along with the likes of defender Piqué, who seems to get his kicks by flirting with certain degrees of irresponsibility. This group of players were actively involved in trying to secure a Camp Nou return for Neymar, after the Brazilian striker left on a sour note and has even tried sue the club for a claim over unpaid wages. A return for the PSG striker failed to materialise as ultimately FC Barcelona are financially stretched. With recent faux pas involving the Eric Abidal interview with Sport and the controversy of social media influencers I3 Venture, the recent salary cut issue has given this nucleus of the squad more ammunition to use to hit back against the Bartomeu board.