Previous Barcelona specialized secretary Eric Abidal has uncovered that the club would have taken Neymar back to the club on the off chance that they had not marked Antoine Griezmann in the late spring of 2019.
The Frenchman, who won two Champions Leagues with Barcelona as a player, gave an understanding into his reasoning when he was venturing out to France to see about re-marking Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.
“Ten days before the finish of the exchange window, I went to Paris to converse with Leonardo [PSG’s wearing director] and I was with my CEO [Oscar Grau], and we were discussing Neymar,” Abidal told the Telegraph in what is his first meeting since leaving Barcelona.
“I think if the CEO goes to Paris Saint-Germain, this is on the grounds that we can sign him. In the event that we didn’t sign Griezmann previously, I figure 100% we might have re-marked Neymar, on the grounds that what we required was a winger and when Neymar was in Barcelona he was stunning.
“This isn’t about which player is better, it was what I thought was the position we required at that point. The group required a genuine winger. The president [Josep Maria Bartomeu] chose to sign Griezmann.
“One of the contentions against Neymar was that he had a legal dispute against the club, so it is difficult. They said he would need to stop the court cycle in the event that he needed to return. That wasn’t my concern since I was not at the club when that debate occurred. In my view, I could sign the player, yet it didn’t occur.”
One critical choice that Abidal needed to make was to head out in different directions with Ernesto Valverde, ten months after Barcelona’s end to Roma in the Champions League in 2018. Yet, he wasn’t tuned in to at that point.
“In December 2018, after a full examination of the mentor, his staff and the group, I suggested that we should change Ernesto Valverde,” said Abidal.
“I said to the president ‘I think this is the choice you need to take now’. What’s more, he advised me ‘no, it is difficult’.
“All things considered, he took the choice to restore the agreement of the mentor two months after the fact – something contrary to what I had recommended. Obviously, I acknowledged the choice and kept on giving the mentor my full help, however it was somewhat bizarre for me after I said to the president that it was smarter to transform him.”
Things being what they are, the point at which the club did in the end head out in different directions with Valverde, who did the Frenchman need to get?
“On my rundown was Mauricio Pochettino, Quique Setien, Max Allegri and Xavi Hernandez,” expressed Abidal.
“Quique was delegated, yet my first choice was Pochettino.”
However, regardless of Pochettino’s reasonable history with Espanyol, Abidal didn’t imagine that would be an issue.
“I told the board, ‘I need to bring the best mentor we can on the lookout. I’m not here for legislative issues since he was before in Espanyol’. As far as I might be concerned, it’s not legislative issues,” clarified the previous Barcelona specialized secretary.
“I needed the best and Pochettino is truly outstanding in our game. He arrived at the Champions League last with Tottenham, you need to regard this, he has a decent way of thinking of playing, a decent way of thinking of preparing, players love him and I figure he would be a superior mentor now for the present circumstance, however with a genuine venture.”
One month after the excusal of Valverde and the arrangement of Setien, Abidal was openly reprimanded by Lionel Messi subsequent to expressing that the Barcelona crew should have been working more diligently.
“I think I was right,” said Abidal when gotten some information about those remarks.
They expected to prepare more earnestly as I would like to think. In my experience with [Pep] Guardiola, it was ‘you need the best? Alright, you need to prepare like the best. You will win everything, just on the off chance that you do the work during the week’. This is the thing that I said. I never said the players needed to dispose of the mentor.
“Messi addressed me actually also. We had a solid discussion, however I can acknowledge it. No issue since you must be straightforward. I was entirely agreeable on the grounds that he was the solitary player who conversed with me like this, the one and only one. I regard that.
“I likewise comprehend Messi is the commander and he needed to shield the crew, however I never said that Messi advised me to put the mentor out. Never.
“I don’t need to fix anything with Messi; our relationship has not transformed from my perspective. From his perspective, I don’t have a clue, in any case, as far as I might be concerned, the circumstance is finished. We have traded numerous messages and he understands my opinion.
“I would not like to transform a little circumstance into a worldwide circumstance and put the entire club in a tough situation.”
Messi has only a couple months left to run on his Barcelona agreement and it is muddled if he will remain at the club, yet Abidal has no uncertainty about his place in world football.
“I think, on the off chance that we are to discuss execution, he’s the best player ever and he played his full vocation in Barcelona, so for that it is essential to remain in light of the fact that he’s the central member,” he noted.
“Yet, too, his thought [about whether to remain or not] will rely upon the remainder of the crew, the new task, the novel thoughts of the new board and their thoughts for the mentor, for instance. Also, if, eventually, he can feel great in this.
“From an advertising point a view additionally, Messi gives you so much, so he is an unfathomable resource. However, it will be his choice and it is difficult when you spend many, numerous years in a similar club, now and again you need to see something different. In any case, will there be an option that could be superior to Barcelona for him? I don’t have the foggiest idea.