Barcelona's president, board resign after Lionel Messi dispute, loss to Real Madrid

Doug McIntyre
·2-min read

Barcelona’s entire board of directors — including embattled club president Josep Bartomeu — has resigned with immediate effect, the club announced on Tuesday.

The news comes after a motion to hold a vote of no confidence against Bartomeu was passed by thousands of Barca fans earlier this month. Per Spanish newspaper AS, the incumbent and the board met Monday at the Nou Camp stadium to set a date for the vote. They were ultimately unable to finalize those plans because of uncertainty relating to new restrictions resulting from a spike in COVID-19 cases across the country.

But on Tuesday, word began trickling out that Bartomeu and the rest of the board were gone. The cohort had been under intense scrutiny since the summer when, following an 8-2 drubbing by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals, Barca icon Lionel Messi made public his desire to leave the only club he’s ever played for. The club made it official just after 10 p.m. local time:

Messi cited Bartomeu’s lack of vision and leadership as reasons he wanted to leave. After he was begrudgingly forced to stay for the final year of his contract, the Argentine publicly blasted Bartomeu in an interview with Goal.com. Messi said the boss had been dishonest in his dealings with him by reneging on a promise that he could leave whenever he wished.

The unrelenting pressure on Bartomeu and Co. only grew following the club’s sluggish start to the new season under his hand-picked manager, Ronald Koeman. Barca has lost consecutive games in La Liga, including at home to blood rival Real Madrid in Saturday’s Classico, and faces a stern test against Italian titan Juventus Wednesday in the Champions League.

The defeat to Real proved to be the final straw in the end.

Tuesday’s news was first reported by club insider Marsal Lorente. The board’s departure was subsequently confirmed by several other credible outlets, including well-sourced La Liga experts Guillem Balague and Sid Lowe.

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