New Delhi: After finding himself in a legal soup, Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu on Tuesday claimed that they are paying a political price for signing Neymar against the wishes of rival Real Madrid.
Yesterday, Spanish public prosecutors have asked for Barcelona and their former president Sandro Rosell to be tried for two charges of tax fraud committed in the signing of Brazilian footballer. The ruling also sanctioned investigation of Bartomeu on an extra tax charge in 2014.
“It’s the big question. What’s going on? Neymar had two offers, one from Madrid and one from Barca. Neymar was playing well a year ago and out comes the complaint. Maybe somebody didn’t like it. Now he’s playing well again and there’s another judicial action,” Bartomeu told television channel 8tv.
Catalan club, Barcelona are the greatest rival to Real Madrid – a club which represents the Spanish union with it's capital in Madrid. And with the ever increasing call for Catalan freedom, the rivalry between two of the biggest clubs in the world often becomes much more than mere sports.
And about the political element, Bartomeu said that, "A year ago we provided the Camp Nou for the ‘Concert per la Llibertat’ (Concert for Freedom), we play in the Senyera (the Catalan flag)... maybe that hasn’t gone down well. we’re going to keep working to get to the bottom of the matter. My duty is to get to the bottom of the matter”.
Bartomeu, who took over the presidency after Rosell resigned just over a year ago over the Neymar signing, maintained that “Barca have done nothing wrong. Just brought Neymar here. We’ll keep saying that the cost was 57 million (euros).”
However, prosecutor Jose Perals Calleja suggested that Rosell and Barcelona had declared an inferior fee to that which they paid for the former Santos FC player in 2013. And the prosecutors believe that Neymar cost in excess of the 57 million euros.