Bartomeu: Barcelona will always defend Neymar

The treble-winning president launched his campaign for re-election and discussed the Brazilian as well as the club's interest in Paul Pogba

Josep Maria Bartomeu believes all court action relating to Barcelona’s controversial signing of Brazil star Neymar will come to nothing and insisted the player will be fully supported as he launched his campaign for presidential re-election.

The 52-year-old suffered a blow this week when a Spanish judge agreed that a fresh lawsuit - this time from Brazilian investment fund DIS – would be investigated.

Bartomeu, former president Sandro Rosell, Santos and two of their executives were all listed on the legal complaint, as were Neymar and his father – the first time the player himself has been named as a defendant.

Bartomeu, Rosell and Barcelona are already under investigation for tax evasion relating to the controversial transfer in 2013.

"With Neymar it is an unjust situation,” said Bartomeu. “We will continue to defend the player because he has always done things well.

“I have always said that the first Neymar case will end in nothing. Now there is another case. The most important thing is that the player is with Barca and he will be for many years.”

Bartomeu, who was vice-president from 2010 before taking over the presidency for the last 18 months following Rosell’s departure, also discussed speculation about the club’s pursuit of Juventus star Paul Pogba.

"On Pogba, I am not within the club at the moment,” he said.

“I don't know what they are doing about a deal though I am sure there is continued work going on. But right now I cannot say whether €80 million would be too much or too little.”

The presidential hopeful stated his case to club members on why they should re-elect him this summer, but insisted coach Luis Enrique should not be used as a tool in the process by any of the candidates.

Bartomeu continued: “Luis Enrique is on holiday and he needs to relax. When he returns, he will be dedicated to football and to his players.

“We present ourselves for the elections with the club leading the world in all areas. Barcelona are the first club in the world to make more than €600 million in a year.

“I don't know if we are favourites to win the election, but the people are happy - and not just for the treble. That encourages us. We think we have improved a lot in this club in these five years.

“In the elections we will see what happens and which candidates go to the second stage.

“Joan Laporta? There are many candidates and I am not going to speak about one or the other. What I like, though, is that there are several options.”