Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, confident stars won't leave to join Manchester City
To say Manchester City have 'raided' Barcelona is an understatement. The club have poached top officials from the Catalan club for their project in England including former chief executive Ferran Soriano and their sporting director Txiki Begiristain and have recently confirmed that they've employed Barcelona's most successful manager, Pep Guardiola, as their own starting next season.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail, Josep Maria Bartomeu, Barcelona's President, says he is calm with all what Manchester City are doing and is not worried about them trying to lure some of the club's biggest stars away.
Brasilian superstar, Neymar, has been constantly linked with a move to the Premiership with clubs like Manchester United and Manchester City but Bartomeu believes because of who and what Barcelona as a club is, there is no fear in the boardroom or the amongst the staff that these kind of players will switch the Camp Nou for the Etihad.
"We know Messi could earn more money in other teams, or Neymar, Busquets, Gerard Pique or Luis Suarez," says Bartomeu.
"Neymar, for example, when he came to Barcelona, had better offers from other teams. Suarez also had better offers.
"But they decided to come to Barcelona because I think this club attracts players, because we are more than a club.
"We take care of a lot of other things, being closer to children in the world, through UNICEF, through the Melinda Gates Foundation or through the International Olympic Committee in Africa, through projects with children. All of this creates an atmosphere that we are not only a football club. We are more than a club."
With Manchester United almost ready to splurge €190m to activate Neymar's release clause, Bartomeu insists that while it is possible, it is doubtful the Brasilian will leave.
"Let’s see," says Bartomeu. "We are confident because we know our players are very happy in our club, in our city. They enjoy sport, their profession, and they are in a group. So we are very confident those players are not moving, taking decisions because of money.
"Messi said a few days ago ‘‘Barcelona will be the only European club that I play for’’. So if someone is interested in Messi, forget it. He said this. I didn’t say it. He said this."
With Manchester City having already poached players like Yaya Toure – even though they can afford it – it is unlikely they'll be successful in poaching few more in the near future.