Barcelona: Former Barcelona technical secretary Alberto Valentin has blamed power games for his dismissal and that of sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta and is now looking for a new challenge away from the pressure cooker of La Liga.
Zubizarreta and assistant Valentin, who oversaw scouting, were both sacked last month in the aftermath of a FIFA transfer ban for the following two windows over the breaching of rules on the signing of foreign under-18 players.
Fan criticism had also been building over failures in the transfer market and their perceived involvement in the scandal over Neymar’s real cost.
"I haven’t given any interviews to the media here (in Spain) as I don’t think they have treated us correctly. I want to now continue my work in a different atmosphere than in Spain," Valentin told Reuters.
"I’ve read the stories about me going to Liverpool but I haven’t spoken with anyone.
"The problem at Barcelona is that there is always a power struggle.
"Often the sports director is the one who is given the job of putting out fires and he is the first person people look at when there are problems," he said.
"Zubizarreta was always looking to conciliate but got tired of the situation."
Valentin felt Zubizarreta was hung out to dry over the transfer ban.
"The error over the signing of youth players was huge. I would add, though, these mistakes happen when you are dealing with hundreds of kids and it is happening at other clubs as well," he said.
"It is true that FIFA has thrown a dart at the club which has set the standard for youth development."
Valentin denied Zubizarreta and those working in the technical department were at fault in the Neymar transfer which was first investigated after a fan took legal action seeking clarity over the price.
The club said they spent 57.1 million euros ($64.64 million) on the Brazil forward when he signed ahead of last season and former president Sandro Rosell steadfastly repeated the figure.
However, when Rosell was asked to give evidence after a judge decided to investigate possible tax evasion, he stood downlast January but denied wrongdoing.
Court proceedings are ongoing but now the prosecution say Neymar`s real cost was 94.9 million euros.
"I did my report on Neymar after the U-20 South American championships in Peru, 2011. Neither Zubizarreta nor I were involved (in trying to sign the player)," he said.
"I would discuss players with Zubizarreta, the coach and directors and a decision would be made.
"I don’t think you would have a situation anywhere else where a fan takes the club to court in this way."
Valentin arrived at Barcelona, having previously been technical secretary at Espanyol, along with Zubizarreta at the start of the Rosell presidency in 2010.
He said they had to deal with a particularly turbulent spellin the club`s history.
"I think in time our jobs will be evaluated differently. We had to deal with the decline of a team which was possibly the best side ever," Valentin remarked.
"We had continual changes of coach, there was the illness for (coach) Tito (Vilanova) and then Tata (Martino) came in for one year. There were external problems that had nothing to do with our job like the Neymar case, Messi’s tax case and the FIFA transfer ban.
"I didn’t speak to (former coach Pep) Guardiola about why he left but he was aware of the problems that were facing the club and the restructuring that was needed."