Barcelona fans managed to get #BartomeuDimiteYa - ‘Bartomeu Resign Now’ - trending worldwide on Twitter after the club completed the £36 million signing of Brazilian midfielder Paulinho.
Bartomeu refers to Barça president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who has been accused of trying to help his own interests by signing Paulinho from Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande.
Bartomeu is the CEO of the company ADELTE Group, who are apparently set to bid on projects in China that involve the Evergrande group.
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Barcelona haven’t taken too kindly to the allegations against their president, releasing a statement threatening legal action against any media outlet that reported the Bartomeu claim.
"This morning FC Barcelona have requested a retraction [from] the authors of the article, as well as the media outlet that published the story, in which the president of the club, Josep Maria Bartomeu, is accused of having signed the player Paulinho Bezerra as part of a deal which favoured the interests of his company,” the statement read.
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"Given the false nature of this news story and the fact that it implies an illegal activity has taken place, if a retraction is not forthcoming both the club and the president as an individual will take the corresponding legal steps.
"These steps will include a specific request for damages incurred with regards to the image of the club.”
So, Barcelona sold Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain. Then they lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup.
Now they sign Paulinho? No wonder the fans are fuming.
What Messi said to Paulinho in June
But according to Sport, Paulinho’s signing has been in the works for some time. Apparently Lionel Messi knew about it when Argentina played Brazil on June 9.
Messi faced Paulinho in a friendly in Australia two months ago, with Argentina running out 1-0 victors.
And as Messi shook hands with Paulinho at full-time, he let slip that he was aware of Barça’s interest in the former Tottenham midfielder.
“I’ll see you in Barcelona,” Messi said to Paulinho. The Brazil midfielder was speechless, thanking Messi for the compliment and asking him how he knew Barça wanted to sign him.
Paulinho had heard of Barcelona’s interest back in June but he wasn’t aware how serious it was.
Two months on and Messi is now his teammate. And despite the accusations against Bartomeu’s intentions, Sport claim Barça boss Ernesto Valverde approved the signing.
Do you think Barcelona genuinely wanted to sign Paulinho? Let us know in the comments section below!
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