‘Recently, Xavi criticised Barcelona, saying not enough young players are coming through and getting to the first team, like he and Andres Iniesta and Messi and all the rest. Do you agree with that?’, was the question asked by the prestigious American outlet.
Bartomeu’s answer was surprising: ‘No, no. The problem is Xavi, and Iniesta, and Leo Messi, and those players. It is very difficult to be a player, and when you have in front of you Leo Messi, or you have Neymar, or Xavi, Iniesta, [Sergio] Busquets or [Gerard] Piqué. It is very difficult to be there’, he said.
Barcelona’s current chairman, instead of basking in the talent of these players, appears to lament the fact that their level doesn’t allow for the emergence of youngsters, despite the former being club legends that have given Barcelona countless titles, both national and international.
‘Xavi was in the first team for 15 years. Those 15 years mean that 15 boys that played in his position had to leave the club. Iniesta, now, I think it is 16 or 17 years. It is very difficult. Or Leo Messi? Who is going to be the new Messi? Well, probably, other players will be Messi, but they have to leave our club because it is impossible’, he added.
He concluded: ‘Xavi said “go slowly,” but the problem is Xavi! He created the problem. And Iniesta and Piqué. They created the problem’.