Bartomeu on Neymar exit: No player is bigger than Barca
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu insists no player is bigger than the club after the dramatic departure of Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain.
Neymar joined PSG in a world-record €222million deal last week after the Ligue 1 side met the forward's release clause.
Bartomeu said it was the Brazil international who wanted to leave Camp Nou and stressed Barcelona were bigger than any one player, even though they did not want to lose him.
The Barca chief also vowed to spend the windfall wisely in the transfer market and pointed to the fact Lionel Messi was still part of the club and cited the Argentina international's loyalty as an example to follow.
"He wanted to leave," Bartomeu said of Neymar at the World Congress of Penyes. "We didn't agree with that decision but no player is bigger than Barca.
"We did not want Neymar to leave and that is why his clause was increased. Any decision was good for FCB, if he stayed we kept a great player and if he left we received a big amount.
"We want to close that chapter. Neymar has been part of our club but now he is history. It is his decision, even if we did all we could to keep him.
"We always acted with responsibility and we respect his decision even if we don't agree with it.
"Now we are looking for his replacements. The €222m that we received for Neymar Jr will be administered with prudence, rigour and serenity.
"People admire us as a club. Leo Messi, the best player ever, shall continue to lead this team. Messi's loyalty must be an example, or [Andres] Iniesta's.
"We will buy players. [Nelson] Semedo has been the first one but obviously more will arrive. This season we won't speak anymore about MSN but about a team.
"I want to say thank you to Luis Enrique and now it is time for supporting Ernesto Valverde."