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‘Neymar Transfer Damaged Barca’s Image’

FC Barcelona president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, has admitted the club’s image ‘has suffered’ following Neymar’s controversial transfer as well as FIFA's accusations around La Masia.

Neymar’s transfer saga prompted the resignation of former president Sandro Rosell, but the Blaugrana’s image also suffered due to alleged inappropriate signings of young players, which caused a transfer ban by FIFA (currently suspended).

"We have learnt a lot this past year," Bartomeu told The Times.

"A lot of the things that have happened have not been positive, but in a sense they have all been good experiences, because they have informed what we will do in the future.

"We do not feel our standing (in world football) has fallen on the pitch. Any team can have one season when they do not win a major trophy. That is football.

“Maybe we feel that in some aspects off the pitch (our image has suffered): the problem with Fifa and the young players, the issue with Neymar. Maybe our image has suffered for these things.

“But you have to learn when things are not as good as they can be, and we have."

"This is not a normal club. You can ask any one of our members — and there are almost 160,000 of them, who between them own the club — what 'mes que un club' means to them. They would all say something different.

Barcelona had to reveal all details of Neymar’s €57.1 million move from Santos to Camp Nou after the club failed to declare an additional €37.9 million, which were paid to a company close to Neymar’s father.

But Bartomeu insists the Catalan giants conducted themselves better than many would have done during the controversies.

"It means we have to be democratic, transparent, that we have to explain everything we do. Some think that (in the Neymar case) we were not transparent. But because a member asked us (to disclose the transfer amount), we did,” he added.

“It is the exact opposite. We were completely transparent. No other club in the world has to do that or would do that.

"We have a pressure not just to be better than everyone else in a football sense, but in a social sense, in an economic sense, in terms of the real state of the club.

“We know, though, that we have to be better and better in every sphere, to be more efficient and more professional at the board level, at the top of the club. That is what we are trying to do."

Do you think FC Barcelona’s image has suffered last season? Have your say in the comment section below.

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