Football

Barcelona's president makes a truly bizarre claim about Neymar's departure to PSG

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It was one of many deals that shocked the footballing world this summer, with Brazilian superstar Neymar completing a £197m switch from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain.

The transfer doubled the previous transfer record held by Paul Pogba's £89m move to Manchester United in 2016 and it set in motion a truly chaotic period in the window.

A wounded Barcelona tried to go on the rampage to replace the South American star, but in the end, they had to make do with Ousmane Dembele and Paulinho, failing in their pursuit of number one target Philippe Coutinho.

The departure of Neymar was a huge blow to the Blaugrana, the loss of a player who's talent is only eclipsed by the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The general consensus is that the former Santos man is virtually irreplaceable in the current market, however, Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu doesn't see it that way.

In fact, he actually believes the club can benefit from the sale of the Brazilian.

Speaking to Catalan publication Sport, he said: It's an opportunity for Barcelona to break the trident and to bet on collective play.

"We're coming off Luis Enrique's project and now there's Valverde. There's total confidence in him. He's a manager that believes in the Barça model and in players from La Masia."

Bartomeu was then asked why Neymar leaving is seen as an opportunity.

"To end the strength of the trident," he said. "It's been really good but it's had consequences. It's an opportunity to play a return to collective football in midfield, which is traditionally Barça's strength."

When asked if he was a problem, he said: "No, but his exit allows us to strengthen the model, to not fall back on the trident all the time. Plus, we've got money.

"We've earned 105 million and there's more to invest in football, in assets... Let's see what we do. It's an opportunity, with a new manager, a new project. We can't be pessimists. Let's stop being pessimistic!"

So, Bartomeu believes that the club can benefit from the sale of the world's third best player, a tad bizarre.

Also, he believes less of a reliance on the world's finest ever front three is a good thing? Surely not.

Clearly, the Barca president is trying to deflect the whole situation away from the club and help keep away the hordes of critics.

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