LaLiga president Javier Tebas has said Barcelona‘s board have an “inferiority complex” with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, describing the two clubs’ alliance in opposition to the CVC investment deal as a “psychological kidnapping.”
The comments — in an interview with the Barcelona-based newspaper Sport, published on Sunday — are the latest chapter in an increasingly bitter public feud between Tebas and Perez, two of the most powerful figures in Spanish football.
Tebas has been highly critical of Real Madrid and Barcelona’s support for a proposed European Super League, calling it “a joke” and describing the two clubs and Juventus as “shipwrecked” after the nine other founding members apologised and disowned the project.
He blamed Madrid and Barca’s rejection of the €2.7 billion investment deal with CVC Capital Partners — which was approved by 38 clubs from LaLiga’s First and Second Divisions — on the Super League row.
“I have the feeling that at Barca there’s a ‘psychological kidnapping’ regarding Florentino, like an inferiority complex,” Tebas told Sport. “Florentino is a very intelligent guy and Jose Angel Sanchez, his director general, is the most empathetic man in European football. All that glamour and know-how, up against someone [Barca president Joan Laporta] who’s been outside the world of football for more than 10 years.”
He added: “Barca were in favour of the CVC deal right until Real Madrid said no… In the last 72 hours everything changed. I think it was very much connected to the Super League and the strategy that Real Madrid are following.”
The CVC investment — which sees the fund take a 10% stake in LaLiga’s future earnings from the sale of audiovisual rights for a period of up to 50 years — was intended, in part, to provide Barcelona with the cash injection needed to keep Lionel Messi.
The club were unable to register a new contract for the Argentina forward when his previous deal expired under LaLiga’s strict financial salary limits, leading to him joining Paris Saint-Germain this summer.
“Yes [Messi’s departure could have been avoided],” Tebas said. “I spoke about it with Laporta personally… I think next season with the figures Barca put out, we’ll see if Messi could really have stayed or not.”
“It wasn’t a financial decision. I know that for sure,” he said. “If Laporta shook hands with Messi, it was because for a month he had accepted the CVC offer. He was in favour for a month. That’s why he said things were going well. He even called me twice to speed up the CVC operation, because Messi was getting nervous.”