Agusti Benedito, who is bidding to become FC Barcelona president after Bartomeu's resignation, admitted that the Catalan club won't be able to stop Paris St-Germain if it decides to make a play for star Lionel Messi.
"He is the best player in the world. I heard Leo Messi say that he wanted to leave Barcelona [last summer], and a decision like that is not made because he got up on the wrong side of the bed... So, the first thing will be that he has a change of opinion, because if we have to compete with any other team in Europe that has their eyes on Messi... if the issue is economic, we are not going to be able to", he said.
"When I heard Neymar [say he wants to play with Messi again], I said, 'Holy sh*t, watch out for these guys' because PSG belongs to Qatar, who are organising the World Cup, who have a club of their own... If PSG wanted him, economically we would not be able to compete", Benedito noted, expressing hope that Messi will say he wants to remain at Camp Nou after having spent nearly 20 years with the club.
Multiple reports earlier suggested that PSG had informed their club stores around the French capital about an upcoming influx of business based around Messi shirt sales. According to Football Transfers, the French team also told partner stores licensed to sell their official goods to prepare for news on the issue.
Earlier this year, Messi notified Barcelona he wanted to leave the team after recent Champions League failures. At the same time, reports speculated that Messi was at odds with Josep Maria Bartomeu, Barca's then-president.
The player's legal team insisted the "exit clause" in his contract allowing him to leave after the end of the season was still active and Messi had the right to leave on a free transfer. However, in August the Spanish football governing body ruled that Messi may only leave if his 700-million-euro ($835 million) release clause is paid.