Barcelona were so dominant against Juventus that they could have scored eight times, according to "shocked" former Bianconeri boss Fabio Capello.

Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi were on target as Barca ran out 2-0 winners in Wednesday's Champions League Group G clash at Allianz Stadium.

Juve were without the self-isolating Cristiano Ronaldo once again and lost Merih Demiral to a red card six minutes before Messi doubled the visitors' advantage.

Andrea Pirlo's men failed to register a shot on target, with Alvaro Morata having three goals correctly ruled out, while a previously out-of-sorts Barca tested Wojciech Szczesny four times.

And Capello believes Juventus got off the hook lightly in the battle between two European superpowers, claiming that his old side were too ponderous when in possession.

"Juventus suffered a lot against a Barcelona in crisis," Capello told Sky Sport Italia. "I was struck by the difference between a team under construction that also lost the Clasico and one at the top in Italy.

"I was shocked by the difference in intensity and play. Barcelona really impressed me - they could have scored eight goals instead of two.

"I saw an aggressive team and a lot of dynamism. Messi also contributed a lot."

Capello felt Juve failed to make full use of Federico Chiesa on the left-hand side, instead looking to play through Paulo Dybala down the middle.

Chiesa had 38 touches of the ball and completed 14 passes, whereas Dybala - who also played the full 90 minutes - had 55 touches and completed 37 successful passes.

"Chiesa was often free in midfield but all the bets were always concentrated on Dybala and his part of the pitch," Capello said.

"It was therefore not possible to open the game and Barcelona had a chance to recover the ball quickly. There was another speed and this makes me doubt what we have in Italy.

"It was all of Juve that lacked speed, they were always pressed and anticipated."

Barcelona's victory makes them just the third Spanish team to win a Champions League away game against Juventus after Real Madrid (April 2018) and Deportivo La Coruna (March 2004).

Barcelona presidential candidate Victor Font wants to lure Pep Guardiola back from Manchester City and vowed to keep Lionel Messi at the club.

Josep Maria Bartomeu quit as president at Camp Nou on Tuesday, ahead of a vote of no confidence against his leadership, along with the entire board of directors.

Following Bartomeu's decision to quit it has been reported Barcelona's presidential elections will be held in the second week of January, with Font tipped to be one of the frontrunners.

Font, 48, claimed that if he wins the vote he will seek to bring Guardiola back as head coach, get other big-name ex-players involved, and ensure Argentina international Messi stays.

Guardiola enjoyed a trophy-laden spell in charge of Barcelona between 2008 and 2012, winning LaLiga three times and the Champions League trophy twice.

Messi, meanwhile, had expressed a desire to leave Barca in August only to reverse his decision to avoid a legal dispute, but his contract is set to expire at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Font told Sky Sports: "It is our intention to build a very strong and competitive project and we are very lucky at Barca that we inherited a style of play that Johan Cruyff instilled throughout the organisation.

"And most of the best professionals who know about this style are also fans and love the club - like Pep Guardiola, Xavi, [Andres] Iniesta, [Carles] Puyol.

"They are all legends that love Barcelona but do not work for Barca today - we need to bring them back to ensure we will have a very competitive project.

"The only thing Messi needs is to know he is part of a competitive project that aspires to win the next Champions League.

"We have no doubt that if we basically have the honour to take the helm of Barcelona, we will be able to achieve that."

Barcelona are currently 12th in LaLiga after a slow start to the season under new boss Ronald Koeman, who was only appointed as Quique Setien's successor in August.

Lionel Messi may yet remain at Barcelona.

Messi, 33, stunningly requested to leave the LaLiga giants during the close season but ended up staying at Camp Nou.

However, the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has still been expected to leave at the end of his contract next year.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA'S CHANCES OF KEEPING MESSI BOOSTED

The resignation of president Josep Maria Bartomeu has boosted Barcelona's chances of keeping Messi beyond 2021, according to The Telegraph.

Messi has spent his entire professional career at Barcelona, winning 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues among numerous other trophies.

Manchester City and Inter have been most heavily linked with a move for Messi.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United sent a scout to watch RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano against Nurnberg in the DFB-Pokal last month, according to Bild. Upamecano has been linked with United previously and played 90 minutes as the Premier League side thrashed RB Leipzig 5-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday.

- With Virgil van Dijk injured, could Liverpool be eyeing Bayern Munich defender David Alaba? The Daily Star reports the Premier League champions were handed a boost in their prospects of a January transfer for Alaba after the defender's contract talks with Bayern collapsed. Alaba is out of contract next year.

- Manchester United, Barcelona and Juventus could be set for a transfer battle. The Mirror says United have joined Barcelona and Juventus in becoming interested in Ajax's 18-year-old midfielder Ryan Gravenberch.

- Inter may be in the market for a left wing-back in January. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A giants may look at Chelsea duo Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmieri, two players they have been linked with previously.

Ronald Koeman hopes he is told if his situation at Barcelona changes following president Josep Maria Bartomeu's resignation.

A day after Bartomeu resigned, Barca showed few affects as they claimed a 2-0 win over Juventus in the Champions League.

After a trophy-less 2019-20 season, Koeman was appointed as Barca coach in August, and the LaLiga giants faced further turmoil as Lionel Messi requested to leave, only for the star to remain.

Asked if he was worried about his position following Bartomeu's resignation, Koeman said that was not the case.

"No. We have to channel all of our energies into playing football. Off-field issues are out of our hands," he told reporters, via AS.

"If my situation changes in any way, I hope that I am told about it. We want to gain better results and improve the way we play. That is what we are putting all of our efforts into doing. Everything outside of that is out of our control. We'll see what happens.

"I am not liberated by what has happened, not at all. We all have our own thoughts on what happened.

"The team showed that it hasn't affected us – if it had, we wouldn't have put in a game like we did."

Goals from Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi, either side of Juve defender Merih Demiral's red card, saw Barcelona to their win as they moved onto six points in Group G.

Barca have only suffered one loss in their past 18 Champions League group stage games away from home, including going unbeaten in 11.

Koeman hopes Bartomeu's exit has no impact on his side, who visit Deportivo Alaves on Saturday.

"We have to think about the sporting side. After the president's decision, the team played well," he said.

"Hopefully it won't affect us."

Andrea Pirlo insisted this season would not simply be a transition campaign for Juventus, saying he wanted to win.

After just two wins from their opening five Serie A games, Juve also suffered a 2-0 loss to Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Pirlo, who took charge in August, said while the Italian giants were rebuilding, he still wanted to win.

"No, it's a year in which we're building, but we want to try and reach results. I'm not here to build without winning," the Juve coach told a news conference.

"Maybe we will need a bit more time, but we have to know that results must come through a certain type of play style that maybe we are struggling to assimilate."

Goals from Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi either side of Merih Demiral's red card saw Barca to their win in Turin.

Juve forward Alvaro Morata incredibly saw three strikes ruled out for offside.

The defeat was just Juventus' second home loss in their past 25 Champions League group-stage games.

Pirlo said the encounter showed just how much his team had to improve.

"We have to improve a lot in terms of attitude, in being good at playing this kind of game," he said.

"For many players it was one of those games they had never played, one of the first appearances in Champions League and therefore the difference in terms of personality and skill at playing this kind of game becomes visible.

"We will need this to improve in the future."

Juve visit Spezia in Serie A action on Sunday.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi is the Harry Potter of football, according to Christian Vieri.

Messi assisted Ousmane Dembele's deflected opener and converted a late penalty as Barcelona recorded a 2-0 win over Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner made a game-high five key passes and 65 passes in the opposition half as Barca improved to six points in Group G.

Vieri, who won Serie A with Juve in 1996-97 and was a 49-time Italy international, lauded Messi's contribution in Turin.

"An amazing Barcelona, there was no game. They could've scored six, seven goals easy. They played fantastic," he told CBS Sports.

"Messi is a magician, he's the Harry Potter of soccer and when he stops playing, I'm throwing my TVs away. I'm not going to work no more on TV, I'm going to watch Netflix, that's it, because when he stops there's nothing else to watch."

Since Messi's first Champions League campaign in 2004-05, only Cristiano Ronaldo (38) has provided more assists in the competition than his 35.

The Argentina international helped Barca dominate as Juve – who had Merih Demiral sent off in the 85th minute – failed to record a shot on target in a Champions League home game for the first time since 2003-04 – when Opta have such data available.

Juventus forward Alvaro Morata incredibly had three goals ruled out for offside during the encounter.

Vieri was impressed by Barcelona's performance, saying: "It's just another football, another game.

"I don't know how they lost against Real Madrid, but if you see them [against Juventus] you're going to say they can't lose against anyone this year, it's impossible the way they played.

"Every game is different but the Barcelona I saw and everyone saw it's just incredible. When you've got a number 10 like that, it's just crazy.

"It's a pity there are no fans here because the fans should be seeing a team like this."

Sitting 12th in the LaLiga table, Barcelona visit Deportivo Alaves on Saturday.

Ronald Koeman described Barcelona's 2-0 Champions League triumph away at Juventus as their "best game of the season". 

Barca bounced back in style from their Clasico defeat to Real Madrid at the weekend, with Ousmane Dembele and a stoppage-time Lionel Messi penalty making it back-to-back Group G wins. 

Juve failed to register a shot on target against the Catalan giants and, while impressed with how his side went about their business, Koeman did feel they should have wrapped up the game earlier than they ultimately did. 

"This was our best game all season," he told reporters. "This is a big win against an important European side and we were able to play the football we're trying to impose. 

"I wanted us to play with three at the back, pushing one man forward to have extra in the middle of the pitch. That meant we created a lot of goal chances and, frankly, I think we should have finished the match off much earlier. 

"I'm very content with the football we played, with the result and especially with the character my team showed."

Barca were dominant throughout, making 227 more passes than Juve and enjoying 59 per cent of possession. 

Sergi Roberto, who completed 94.5 per cent of his attempted passes, says the performance lays down a standard they should be striving to meet consistently.  

"We want to be a Barcelona side which dominates games, which owns the ball, which defends well and we're getting there," he said. "We have a new coach and this will improve continually. 

"To have six points from two games is important. It's only a two-goal win but it could have been much more. 

"Some chances didn't want to go in but we're generally content. The vital thing is to be continuously creating these chances."

Andrea Pirlo says his Juventus side are a "work in progress" after they suffered a 2-0 defeat to Barcelona in their Champions League Group G clash on Wednesday.

The Serie A champions - who had Merih Demiral sent off late on after picking up two bookings - were second best to Barca throughout, with Ronald Koeman's side sealing all three points thanks to Ousmane Demeble's deflected strike and Lionel Messi's stoppage-time penalty. 

Juve failed to register a single shot on target, although Alvaro Morata did see three efforts ruled out for offside. 

Pirlo refused to criticise his players, though, and hopes they are able to take positives from the setback.

"We knew it'd be tough against a side that plays good football and is accustomed to playing at this level, whereas we are a work in progress," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"Ultimately, it's a match that will be useful for us to grow and improve in future.

"I hope to have more players back soon because I don't have many options and those I start end up having to play almost 90 minutes twice a week. That's not easy for them, especially when they are young and inexperienced."

Captain Leonardo Bonucci was more critical than his coach, warning his team-mates that they have a "long road ahead of them".

"It's the moment when we need to grit our teeth, work together and get the best out of ourselves," he said.

"The results have not been up to our standards lately. We knew it was tough, even if both teams were missing a lot of players, but we made too many technical mistakes and that made it easier for Barcelona.

"There's a long road ahead of us. We know that we could've done more this evening, including myself, even if I was struggling."

Two teams struggling to impress under respective club legends met in Turin on Wednesday, and without Juventus' star player on show, it was Ronald Koeman's Barcelona who came out on top.

A 34th meeting between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in club football was put on hold due to the latter's latest coronavirus test result, and Andrea Pirlo's side paid the price in a clash that was short of quality.

There were moments. Ousmane Dembele's opener, albeit fortuitous, came at the culmination of a fine run from the winger. On Barca's opposite flank, teenager Pedri shined and Messi showed flashes of brilliance.

At the other end, Alvaro Morata displayed neat finishing, only to see all three of his strikes disallowed, yet Merih Demiral's dreadful second-minute pass ultimately summed up a dismal Juve performance – his late red card compounding the hosts' misery.

Messi netted his 70th group-stage goal to wrap up the victory from the penalty spot, as Barca won in Turin for the first time.

JUVE MISS RONALDO'S EDGE AS MESSI LEADS BARCA

Ronaldo remains in isolation due to what he labelled as "bull****" coronavirus protocols, and without him, the Serie A champions have looked decidedly ordinary.

From the four games Ronaldo has missed since testing positive for COVID-19, Pirlo's team have managed just one win, against Dynamo Kyiv in their Group G opener.

In his 33 club meetings with Messi, Ronaldo has scored 18 goals and provided one assist, creating 19 chances and claiming nine wins.

Though those statistics do not compare favourably to Messi – who has scored 21 times, created 10 goals and crafted 60 opportunities – Juve's reliance on Ronaldo has become clearer in his absence.

Juve have now lost five of the 17 games, across the Serie A and Champions League, Ronaldo has not featured in since the start of the 2018-19 season, winning nine, scoring 26 goals and conceding 17.

With Ronaldo missing, Juve needed Paulo Dybala to step up but, playing in the same central role in a 4-2-3-1 as his opposite number, he went into hiding, having only two shots and failing to create any chances.

The same could not be said of Messi, whose assist for Dembele was his 35th in the Champions League, while the 33-year-old boasted game-highs in key passes (five) – more than any Barca player in any game this season – and shots (four).

KOEMAN FINDS A SPARK AFTER BARTOMEU QUITS

Saturday's Clasico defeat to Real Madrid proved to be the final game of the Josep Maria Bartomeu era at Barca, with the club president – and the entire board of directors – resigning on Tuesday.

Though it was far from a vintage display, and one which might not be good enough against the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City or holders Bayern Munich, Barca did what they needed to in Turin.

Leaving the evergreen Messi to one side, Koeman can also look to impressive displays from Dembele, Pedri and Miralem Pjanic, who made his presence felt against his former club.

Pjanic made 82 passes, second only to Messi, who attempted 95, with the former Juve playmaker achieving an accuracy of 86.6 per cent.

Pedri played with the flare of youth, though he did not shirk off his defensive work – his three tackles the joint-highest in Barca's side, along with Ronald Araujo.

Dembele's display, meanwhile, was perhaps the most promising of all for Koeman. Injury limited the Frenchman to nine appearances last season, and his deflected long-range effort ended a 12-month wait for a goal.

PIRLO STRUGGLING TO FIND A BALANCE

Though it must be noted that Wednesday's clash was only Pirlo's eighth as coach, and his first defeat, Juve looked a shadow of their former selves. 

Dybala may have been anonymous, but he was not helped by Juve's tendency to channel their play down the right flank, with only 25.4 per cent of their attacks going through central areas.

With Pjanic pulling the strings for Barca, Adrien Rabiot and Rodrigo Bentancur failed to combine with any real effect. Ahead of them, Dybala, Federico Chiesa and Dejan Kulusevski combined for just three attempts, with Morata forced into playing both as a poacher and creator – his tally of three opportunities created the most of any Juve player.

In their 200th Champions League game, Juve failed to put any of their 10 efforts on target, albeit Morata had three goals rightly disallowed.

Juve have now failed to score in their last four meetings with Barca, and Pirlo's Bianconeri, with three wins, four draws and a defeat, are a team struggling to discover their identity.

Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi were on target as Barcelona defeated 10-man Juventus 2-0 in their Champions League Group G clash at the Allianz Stadium.    

Playing for the first time since Josep Maria Bartomeu announced on Tuesday he and the club's board of directors are resigning, Barca started sharply and went ahead inside 15 minutes thanks to Dembele's second goal of the season.   

Juve - once again without the self-isolating Cristiano Ronaldo - were largely second best to Ronald Koeman's side throughout but will feel hard done by after Alvaro Morata had three efforts ruled out for offside.   

Merih Demiral was dismissed after receiving a second yellow card in the 85th minute before Messi compounded Juve's misery with a cool penalty in stoppage time. 

Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho will not return to fitness before the November international break, according to the Brazil national team.

Coutinho suffered a hamstring injury in Saturday's defeat to Real Madrid despite completing the full game at Camp Nou.

Barca said a timescale for the former Liverpool man's return "depends on how the injury evolves", but Brazil's doctors have also now assessed the player.

Doctor Rodrigo Lasmar believes "there is not enough time for the recovery of the player for his participation in the next two rounds of [2022 World Cup] qualifiers", a statement read.

Brazil have therefore called up Lyon's Lucas Paqueta in his place for the fixtures against Venezuela and Uruguay on November 13 and 17.

Should Coutinho be available for Barca again following the break, he would make his return against Atletico Madrid almost a month on from the initial issue.

Coutinho is set to be joined in missing Brazil's qualifiers by Liverpool's Fabinho.

The midfielder, who has been playing in defence for the Reds since Virgil van Dijk's injury, sustained a hamstring problem in Tuesday's Champions League win over Midtjylland.

Liverpool were waiting for a scan on the injury on Wednesday, but Jurgen Klopp suggested Fabinho's absence would not represent a major blow for Brazil, as he has earned just 12 caps for his country and started on five occasions.

"I'm not sure if Tite's too worried because he plays him never, so he will probably now not sit on the bench for the next [two] international games," Klopp said.

Dayot Upamecano is a player in demand following his exploits for RB Leipzig.

Upamecano attracted plenty of interest before re-signing at Bundesliga side Leipzig in July.

Manchester United have been linked previously and are reportedly plotting another move.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT UPAMECANO

Manchester United will pursue a cut-price deal for RB Leipzig star Dayot Upamecano, according to The Times.

United have been keen to bolster their defence and the Red Devils were previously linked to France centre-back Upamecano, who has also caught the eye of the likes of Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Upamecano signed a new deal in July, though the contract reportedly includes a release clause of around £38million (€42m) at the end of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bild reports a third round of negotiations regarding a new contract for Bayern star David Alaba failed. Alaba will become a free agent at the end of the season. Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Barca are believed to be interested.

Milan are interested in Schalke centre-back Ozan Kabak and Hellas Verona's Matteo Lovato, claims Gazzetta dello Sport. Kabak has also been linked to Premier League champions Liverpool.

- Tuttosport reports Barca and Juventus could be involved in another swap deal. After exchanging Miralem Pjanic and Arthur at the start of the season, Juve's Federico Bernardeschi and Barca forward Ousmane Dembele could also move in opposite directions.

Barca could raid PSV for Donyell Malen as an alternative to Lyon captain Memphis Depay, according to Mundo Deportivo. Barca tried to sign Depay in the previous transfer window but a move did not material as his contract expires at season's end.

Barcelona travel to fellow heavyweights Juventus in the pick of the second round of Champions League group-stage fixtures on Wednesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo will not get the chance to resume his rivalry with Lionel Messi after contracting coronavirus, but a number of other superstars will be on the field at Allianz Stadium.

Juve and Barca picked up victories in their opening games and that was also the case for Manchester United, who triumphed away at Paris Saint-Germain and now welcome RB Leipzig to Old Trafford.

PSG head to Turkey for their first competitive meeting with Istanbul Basaksehir while Chelsea, held by Europa League champions Sevilla in their first game, face a potentially tricky trip of their own at competition debutants Krasnodar.

Here is some of the key Opta data from day two of matchday two.

Juventus v Barcelona: Milestone victory in sight for Juve

Juventus' tally of six home games without losing to Barcelona is their joint-best total against any team in European competition, alongside another LaLiga side in Atletico Madrid.

Barca are unbeaten in six games against Italian opposition in the Champions League, however, and have only suffered defeat once in their last 17 away games in the competition.

Should Juve come out on top in Turin, it will be their landmark 100th victory in UEFA's showpiece competition in what will be their 200th game.


Krasnodar v Chelsea: Blues target first win

After drawing 0-0 with Sevilla in their opener, Chelsea are looking to avoid going back-to-back games without a win to begin a Champions League campaign since the 1999-2000 season.

The London club have lost only one of their last 11 away games in European competition, though that came in their last outing - a 4-1 loss to Bayern Munich.

None of the previous six Russian sides to have competed in the Champions League have won their first home game, which Krasnodar will be looking to put right on Wednesday.


Manchester United v RB Leipzig: More German joy for Red Devils?

United have gone 10 home games without being beaten by German opposition in European competition since a 1-0 loss against Bayern Munich in 2001, winning seven of those.

However, the Red Devils have lost four of their last six Champions League matches at Old Trafford - as many as in their previous 71 games combined.

Leipzig beat Tottenham home and away last season - their only previous encounters with an English team - and are unbeaten in five away games in the competition.

 

Nothing better than a sunny day!pic.twitter.com/leyNYvGTWm

— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) October 26, 2020 Istanbul Basaksehir v Paris Saint-Germain: Away-day specialist Mbappe

Basaksehir have won three of their last four home matches in European competition but this will be the first occasion they have hosted Champions League football.

On the back of their loss to United last week, PSG are out to avoid successive defeats to begin a group campaign for the first time since the 2004-05 campaign.

Kylian Mbappe played a key part in his side's run to the final last term and has been directly involved in 20 goals in his 16 away Champions League appearances. He has registered at least one goal or assist in 13 of those 16 away appearances.

 

Other fixtures:

Sevilla v Rennes:

12 - Sevilla are unbeaten in 12 home games in European competition since a 2-1 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich in April 2018.

2 - Only two of the 10 previous French sides to have played in the Champions League have won their first ever away match - PSG and Auxerre in 1994 and 1996 respectively.

Borussia Dortmund v Zenit:

6 - Zenit are winless in their last six European matches against teams from Germany, stretching back to a 2-1 victory against this week's opponents Dortmund in March 2014.

3 - Dortmund have won three Champions League home games in a row and are looking to make it four on the spin for the first time since a run of seven between September 2012 and October 2013.

Club Brugge v Lazio:

4 - Brugge have scored only four goals in their last 12 matches with Italian opposition and are winless in their last nine meetings with clubs from the Peninsula.

5 - Lazio have lost their last five away games on the continent, all of which came in the Europa League in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.

Ferencvaros v Dynamo Kiev:

3 - Dynamo have won just three of their last 24 away games in the Champions League, drawing three of their last four.

24 - Ferencvaros kept a clean sheet in their first home game in the competition but have since shipped 24 goals across their last six matches, giving them the highest goals-conceded-per-game ratio of any team to have played in more than one campaign.

On Tuesday, Josep Maria Bartomeu announced he was resigning as president of Barcelona.

The 57-year-old confirmed he and the entire board of directors would be stepping down prior to a planned vote of no confidence at Camp Nou offices this weekend.

Below is the full speech Bartomeu delivered to reporters, members and fans...

 

"Good evening Barca members, I am here today to inform you of my resignation and that of the rest of the board of directors. 

"This is a well-considered, calm, consensual and collective decision by my fellow directors who have accompanied me over recent years in a loyal and committed fashion with regards to the project and the club, and who have made so many sacrifices thinking always of Barca.  

"This morning, as you well know, I received a reply from the Catalan Government to the letter that we sent yesterday. Their reply was clear. I will read the text: 'We inform you that the Catalan Government, represented by members from the Presidential, Interior and Health Departments, reiterate that there is no legal or sanitary impediment for the holding of the vote of censure, as long as they include, in the organisational protocol of the aforementioned vote of censure, the requirements that the PROCICAT technical group presented to FC Barcelona in the meeting which took place on 21 October.' That means a decentralised vote.

"To the point. They do not say anything else. They make no mention of our request in the same meeting and in previous meetings, which consisted of requesting legal coverage to have 15 days' notice to be able to organise the necessary complicated logistics to hold a vote that respected the minimum of health and safety measures necessary at that moment. Decentralised voting that, for the first time, proposed voting in 21 different polling stations, distributed geographically, 13 in Catalonia and eight in the rest of the state.

"Neither do they talk about the date of the vote, even though they know that we are obliged to call it this very day, and if we do not, we will not be complying with our own statutes.

"For that reason we asked them for legal coverage. The same that they requested from the Central Government in order to take extreme measures such as the curfew amongst others. However, they have decided to not grant us what they themselves have requested and received from the State Government. Frankly, they have decided to wash their hands of the subject in the face of a situation that was uncomfortable for them without thinking of the consequences that their decision can have.

"Immediately afterwards, at midday today, a meeting was called for the vote of censure committee. The representatives from the club's board of directors proposed holding the vote, as requested by the Catalan Government, in 21 different polling areas, but on November 15 and 16, in order to be able to carry out the necessary logistics.

"Both the representatives from the instigators of the vote, as well as the president of the committee, representing the Catalan Football Federation, not only opposed the idea but also that they would bring legal action against the club's board of directors. That was recorded in the minutes of the meeting taken by the notary.

"Yesterday, in my appearance, I spoke of the astonishment provoked by such decisions. Today, I have to say that these decisions, aside from being contradictory, seem to us irresponsible.

"I know that it is a strong statement but I cannot see another better that reflects what I think. At a time at which the Government itself is imposing painful measures on citizens that have serious social and economic consequences on families, businesses and where, as of yesterday, there is talk of even stricter measures such as weekend lockdowns, where experts talk of the danger of the collapse of our health care system, when also the same experts recommend lockdown of the entire population, where we see contradictory versions, from members of the Government themselves, such as the obligation or recommendation that all companies implement home working. At such a moment and in the circumstances, I cannot find any other word to describe this decision other than irresponsible.

"However, we have to act responsibly. For that reason we cannot hold the vote of censure in the current circumstances. It was necessary to do so in conditions that guaranteed everybody's health, so that nobody could fail to take part through fear or mobility problems, or because they formed part of a vulnerable group. We cannot nor want to put ourselves in a position of having to choose between protecting people's health and exercising the right to vote. For that reason we have taken the decision to not call the vote and resign forthwith.

"We know that we will leave the club in the hands of an interim board that, in the current circumstances of the pandemic, has no guarantee of being able to hold elections in the short term. We know that and I hope that the interim board will be able to carry out our decisions to help the club through the pandemic crisis.

"The desire of this board of directors has never been to hold on to power at the club, as we have heard repeatedly over the last few months. I can assure you of that. So, why did we not resign before?

"After being knocked out of the Champions League, the easiest thing was to leave. The easiest thing was to resign. Yet the day after that painful defeat we had to take decisions that we could not put off any more, key to guaranteeing the sporting future and immediate sustainability of the club. Furthermore, we had to do so in the middle of a global crisis without precedent. We could not leave the club in the hands of an interim board with limited powers.

"Who would have found the new coach? Who would have handled transfers? Who would have fought for Leo Messi to stay? Who would have carried out the budget cuts? Who would have handled the salary adjustments of the professional sportspeople at the club?

"As a board we understood that, out of responsibility, we have to take those decisions. The majority of which were uncomfortable and unpopular.

"The most obvious sign that we were not holding on to power is that we called elections for the month of March. The earliest date allowed by the statutes. That was because we believed that this would help to calm things down, allow teams to work and allow an ordered transition to the newly elected Board of Directors.

"An early resignation would have led to the club being tied up in an electoral process, a power vacuum, under the management of an interim board with limited powers that within a few weeks would have to take sporting and economic decisions with serious consequences that could not be put off.

"That is what I explained in my appearance on Monday: we had no reason to resign with elections called for March and with lots of work related to our management still to be done. Work that, for reasons of responsibility, we could not shirk, despite the personal cost to us and our families.

"A club like Barca needs to have ordered transitions from one board to another. Too many times in the past we have found ourselves suddenly in the final stages of a mandate that has not allowed this to be carried out, something essential in an organisation of the dimensions of ours. It is for that reason that our statutes provide for  an ample period of time to call elections: to allow this transition to be made in the best way possible.

"In contrast, it has been suggested what we had hidden interests, things to hide, even that we wanted to avoid making financial commitments... False insinuations and unfortunately many of them motivated by electoral or political interests.

"I have always accepted criticism. They say I am very resilient. I don’t know. What I do know is that I have accumulated enough experience, together with my fellow members of the board the know the realities of managing the club.

"I have always said that self-criticism makes us stronger and that Barca has always come out of difficult times. However, what we have experienced in the last few months goes beyond any limit. We have been shown a lack of respect, to me and my fellow board members; we have been insulted, threatened, even me and my family and my fellow board members.

"At the moment there are people who ask me what motivated me to join the Barca board of directors, first as a board member and then as president and if it was really worth it. In fact, it has been an honour to serve my club in this capacity.

"Over all these years as a board member and president I have tried to exercise my role representing the club's members with respect, humility and honesty.

"Today, however, we are obliged to resign. And we have to do without having completed the financial measures this season to reduce our immediate expenditure and to guarantee the growth of our revenue. I hope in the days to come an agreement can be reached to implement our salary adjustment from part of the playing staff and our employees. A measure that, if it is not applied, could have serious consequences for the future of the club. I have confidence that the interim board will be able to complete the process and that everyone can come to an agreement for the good of Barca.

"Today I can announce something that will change in an extraordinary way the future revenue of the club for the years to come.

"The board of directors have approved the acceptance of requirements to take in a future European Super League of clubs, a project put forward by the biggest clubs in Europe.

"The details of these requirements will be made available to the next board, and the decision about participation in this competition shall have to be ratified by the next Assembly of Delegate Members.

"And I also wish to announce that we have approved the future new format for the Club World Cup.

"We can say with pride that we are the best sports club in the world in terms of the value of its sponsorship revenue. We have achieved this in competition with clubs that are owned by huge magnates, corporations and even countries, and we have done that while maintaining our own ownership structure, with the club in the hands of the members, maintaining our nature as a club for the people, without raising season ticket prices since 2011 and still having lower prices than the big European clubs.

"The European Super League will guarantee the club's financial stability, which will continue to belong to the members. It shall never become a limited sports company.

"Our uniqueness means that we never have to share dividends among our members and that the almost €200million accumulated profit that this board has made since 2010, the highest profits ever achieved by any board in the history of the club, shall be invested in sporting and capital projects.

"The club is unquestionably solid, despite the difficulties we are going through. In these last three years we have developed new business lines, such as our digital strategy, with projects like the new OTT, Barca TV+, the development of contents through Barca Studios, the e-commerce platform for online sales and the research for new knowledge and new revenue via the Barca Innovation Hub.

"The Barca Corporate program was passed yesterday, and pending its finalisation and approval of the Assembly of Delegate Members, it will generate greater value for these new projects and the club’s ordinary activities.

"I'd also like to mention the Espai Barca, a club project approved by the members in a referendum and that will become one of Barca's main sources of revenue in the future. Espai Barca is already happening, investments have already been made, and the first part of it, the Estadi Johan Cruyff, is already finished and operative. We shall be supplying the new board with the political agreement, the technical projects and a funding proposal whereby the work will be paid without it having to affect the club's ordinary affairs. Goldman Sachs is not asking for any kind of guarantee that would put the club's viability at risk in any way.

"It is worth looking up and remembering that since 2004, Barca fans have felt very privileged indeed. We are enjoying an extraordinary era of success, an unprecedented era in European football. There have been new cycles, with new managers and players, but we have kept on winning. We have won 34 titles, more than Bayern [Munich], Porto, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

"Of those 34 titles, 22 have been won under this board in the last 10 years. An unprecedented success rate in this club's history.

"The upheaval of the squad in the last few months should have happened a year earlier, and for that I accepted my part of the responsibility. How? By calling elections for March 2021, the soonest possible in accordance with the statutes to bring a mandate to an end.

"And why do the statutes include that option? To guarantee a smooth transition between one presidency and the next. And that is what the club needs, given its huge size, the highly competitive industry in which it operates as well as the context brought about by the health crisis.

"We needed to rejuvenate the squad, renew our hopes, change the inertia and dynamic … and that is what we did. It has meant the departure of players who have played essential roles in recent years. I would like to reiterate my gratitude to them for what they gave to the club in their time here. And we have also promoted highly promising youngsters from Barca B and some exceptional talent signed from elsewhere.

"As I said last Monday, the decision to hire a new coach in Ronald Koeman was one that the board had to make, in the same way that we had to approach the summer transfer market. And I am very happy with my decision.

"I hope that time will confirm it and people will continue to appreciate the assets that we have renewed and generated over all these years. We are the most loved club in the world, the biggest in terms of fan numbers, and followers on social networks, and our global nature is unquestionable, with offices in Hong Kong and New York.

"We wanted to be a benchmark in terms of promoting the role of women in society, with the professionalisation of our women's team as the flagship project, and which is now setting new standards on a national and continental level. And also defending the role of women at our club and in the history of sport.

"I am proud of what we have done; making Barca a club that is committed to society, to its country, to children and to the most vulnerable, with a Foundation that is such a huge benchmark in the world of sport and that has played such a fundamental humanitarian part in this pandemic.

"We are proud to have worked on and consolidated over these years our social programs to escort the elderly at matches, the game with free entrance for the needy, travel to away matches, and the youth section in the stadium; reviewing the waiting list system and doing so much to combat fraud. And for creating such a body for our supporters clubs as the World Confederation of Penyes, which is made up of 30 federations and has made the supporters movement stronger, more efficient and more global than ever.

"I can also assure you that La Masia has been consolidated as a sporting and human training centre, with a program providing care to the more than 600 young athletes in our youth system.

"And we are also proud to have so many Barca academies around the world teaching boys and girls to play football our way and in accordance with our values.

"The multi-sport nature of our club is more alive than ever. The Social Area has done wonderful work to foster our amateur sports, with more than 1,500 athletes of all ages, with a particular focus on youth training schemes.

"Since 2010, we have won 149 different professional titles: 19 in basketball, 52 in handball, 31 in roller hockey, 27 in futsal and 20 in women's football.

"I have sometimes said that our fate was to run Barca at one of the most turbulent times for the country and for the club too. We have had to deal with all kinds of situations, both in a historic political context (where we have always stood beside our institutions, and defended such non-negotiable principles as the right to freedom of expression and the right to decide), and we also had to overcome the death of Tito Vilanova.

"We have also watched in disbelief as a Barca president, Sandro Rosell, was so unfairly imprisoned. And have put up with sometimes irrational and cruel insults and criticism from the media, which have often gone way over the line regarding what kinds of things are admissible.

"But now it is time to turn the page. I expect everyone will have their opinions and will draw their own conclusions.

"I just hope to be able to continue enjoying our Barça, but now from a distance. I wish all the best to the new president and board, which shall be chosen by the club's own members. They shall always have my respect and my support whenever they feel they need it.

"It is we the members who decide our future. Nobody else. That is part of the Barca identity and what makes us so great, the most loved club in the world. And that was the goal of our Strategic Plan when we began our mandate in 2015: to make Barca the most admired, loved and global sports club in the world. And I believe we have achieved that goal and much more.

"I thank all the members, supporters clubs, fans, athletes, technical secretaries, coaching staff, executives, full-time and temporary employees, the members of all commissions, the patrons of the Foundation, and especially my fellow board members, both past and present.

"In short, my thanks to the whole blaugrana family for all the wonderful work and support over all these years since we arrived in 2010 with Sandro Rosell as our president.

"I also thank those people for their constructive criticism and encourage them all to continue making this the greatest club in the world. Thank you very much.

"Visca el Barca i Visca Catalunya!"

Josep Maria Bartomeu's ultimately unpopular tenure as Barcelona president has finally come to an end after the club's entire board resigned.

Barca won the treble in his first full season in charge in 2014-15, led by the thrilling front three of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.

But it seems unlikely Bartomeu's time as the top man at Camp Nou will be remembered for that success.

Barca subsequently suffered humiliation after humiliation in the Champions League, reaching a remarkable crescendo with August's 8-2 quarter-final demolition at the hands of eventual champions Bayern Munich.

However, it was Bartomeu's failings in the transfer market that helped put the Catalan giants in such a position.

While Neymar left and then Lionel Messi pushed for a move of his own, Barca recruited in disappointing if often spectacular fashion.

Not all of Bartomeu's signings were poor, but we look at the 10 permanent deals that defined his reign.

 

Marc-Andre ter Stegen – €12m from Borussia Monchengladbach

That stunning first season of on-field triumphs came after an excellent summer transfer window, although Ter Stegen was restricted to Champions League action initially as fellow new man Claudio Bravo started in LaLiga. Germany international Ter Stegen quickly proved his worth in the 2014-15 European campaign, keeping a joint-high six clean sheets courtesy of 31 saves, while trailing only Manuel Neuer for successful passes (245) and passing accuracy (80 per cent) among goalkeepers.

Ivan Rakitic – €18m from Sevilla

Another to join in the €165m spending spree of 2014, Rakitic only departed this year to return to Sevilla. The midfielder was a consistent performer throughout his time at Camp Nou, yet perhaps his best season was reserved for his first 12 months at Barca. He scored five times in LaLiga and laid on seven assists – the most in his Barca career – from 35 chances created.

Luis Suarez – €81m from Liverpool

The most important and surely best signing of Bartomeu's tenure followed in that same transfer window as Barca prised Suarez from Liverpool after their failed Premier League title bid in which he netted 31 times. That same scoring form continued in LaLiga, where Suarez struck up a great partnership and friendship with Messi. The Uruguay international left for Atletico Madrid prior to the 2020-21 campaign – a key factor in the ongoing Barca crisis – having scored 198 goals for the club, trailing only Messi and Cesar Rodriguez. Suarez scored a sensational 40 LaLiga goals in 2015-16, along with 16 assists and 23 tackles, typifying his work rate. All three were high marks for his Barca career.

Thomas Vermaelen – €18m from Arsenal

Along with Ter Stegen, Rakitic and Suarez, though, came a signing that would prove more in keeping with much of the rest of the work done under Bartomeu. Vermaelen cost a decent fee, was scarcely fit and rarely looked like troubling the starting XI when he was. He made just 26 LaLiga starts in five years at Barca.

Andre Gomes – €35m from Valencia

After making just two signings in 2015-16, Barca were busy in the market again the following campaign. A combination of form and fitness meant few if any of the 2016-17 signings could be considered successes, but Gomes was perhaps the worst. Signed for a fee that could have risen to €55m, he scored three goals and provided one assist in the league across two seasons before leaving for Everton.

Ousmane Dembele – €105m from Borussia Dortmund

Barca's dealings had been questionable even before they sold Neymar, but the money brought in for the Brazilian then appeared to burn a hole in the pocket of Bartomeu, who proceeded to spend it in a series of unsuccessful ways. Dembele seemed a reasonable enough replacement for Neymar but injuries disrupted his progress. He has supplied just 12 goals and 11 assists in the league since signing, although he remains at Camp Nou.

Philippe Coutinho – €120m from Liverpool

Barca tried for Coutinho when Neymar first left and returned for the Liverpool star again in January. Yet the Blaugrana did not appear to have a role made for the playmaker, sticking to a 4-3-3 formation that forced him out wide or deep in the midfield. Another still at Barca, a reasonable enough initial return of eight goals and five assists from 29 chances created in the remainder of his first season did not provide a platform for success. He spent last season on loan at Bayern and scored twice in the humbling of his parent club.

Malcom – €41m from Bordeaux

As Barca went big again in 2018-19, there appeared to be a third attempt at replacing Neymar. Malcom was just 21 and should have been one for the future but did not last long. A single season brought one goal and two assists before he left for Zenit.

Antoine Griezmann – €120m from Atletico Madrid

Project replace Neymar: part four. With attempts to bring the PSG number 10 himself back to Barca failing, a long-awaited move for Griezmann was instead completed. A World Cup winner who led the line for one of Barca's biggest domestic rivals, Griezmann certainly had the pedigree but has so far struggled to work with Messi in attack. The pair are yet to create a single chance for one another in LaLiga this season and have combined on just 23 passes.

Martin Braithwaite – €18m from Leganes

Braithwaite is evidently delighted to be at Barca, but perhaps that is the problem. It is a stunning indictment of Bartomeu's tenure that Ronald Koeman had to turn to the Denmark international in a bid to rescue last week's Clasico defeat. He now wears the number nine shirt that belonged to Suarez.

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