Former Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has been arrested by police as new information about the 'BarcaGate' scandal comes to light.
Barcelona have been rocked by a police raid at their offices today. Several individuals who have served at the very top level at the club have been arrested. It's been a testing season for Barcelona both on and off the pitch and it doesn't look like it's going to let up any time soon.
Without further ado, let's take a look at the top stories involving Barcelona from 1 March 2021.
Injury update on Pedri, Gerard Pique and Ronald Araujo
Barcelona won 2-0 against Sevilla over the weekend and it was the kind of performance that would have immensely boosted their morale. However, three of their players, namely Gerard Pique, Pedri and Ronald Araujo, had to be taken off due to injury concerns.
Barcelona have officially confirmed that Pedri has suffered a muscle injury. AS have added that they've been informed by sources close to the club that Pedri is likely to be out for at least three weeks. He is likely to miss the second leg of the Round of 16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain and as such, it's a huge blow for Barcelona.
Speaking after the game against Sevilla, Pique confirmed that his injury was not serious and that he is perfectly fine. He said:
“No, no… I spoke about increasing the workload little by little with the coach because I hadn’t played for three months and we had agreed that 60 minutes would be good for today. I’m proud of the team.”
SPORT claims that despite limping off in the game against Sevilla, Ronald Araujo is fit and ready to play.
Eric Garcia will play for Barcelona says Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola announced in a press conference that Eric Garcia will join Barcelona in the summer. The Catalans have been heavily linked with Garcia, who rose through the ranks at La Masia before securing a switch to Manchester City.
"Eric Garcia is like a son. He was a guy last season that after lockdown was our best central defender. He never made a mistake and played in the quarter-final of the Champions League.
"He's going to play in Barcelona and that is not an average player - he is a top player. He was not selected in the last two games and it broke my heart. That is why it is difficult for all the managers when you have a squad. You cannot imagine what it means."
Police arrest Josep Maria Bartomeu over BarcaGate scandal
Police raided Barcelona football club's offices today and also arrested former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, current CEO Oscar Grau and the club's head of legal services, Gomez Ponti, as per reports.
Club officials have been accused of paying a company to run smear campaigns on their political rivals and even some of their own players who were critical of the club. Players like Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique were targeted for making comments against the club.
Former players and club legends like Xavi, Carles Puyol and Pep Guardiola were also targeted in campaigns run by I3. Barcelona subsequently canceled their contract with I3 and initiated an internal probe as Bartomeu continued in his position amid immense pressure. He later resigned on October 27, 2020.
As per Cadena SER, Barcelona had paid €1 million to I3 in six different installments.