By 90Min
March 06, 2018

Ex-Barcelona president Joan Gaspart has claimed that Neymar joining Real Madrid at some point in the future would still not surpass the level of 'treachery' when Luis Figo directly joined Los Blancos from Camp Nou in the summer of 2000.

If Neymar, who was prised away from Barça for €222m last summer, were to make the switch to Real, it would obviously not be direct from Catalunya, nor would it really be too much of a surprise after the level of speculation that has surrounded the player since he moved to France.

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In Gaspart's eyes, the fact that Figo made the direct switch is still much worse.

"Neymar's possible move to Madrid is not comparable with Figo. Figo left with treachery and with no time to renew the team, and he was a coward who betrayed us," he told Radio Marca.

"Neymar went for money, full stop."

Gaspart was Barça president when Real triggered Figo's €62m buyout clause, then a world record fee, and clearly still feels bitter about the situation.


While Figo romped to La Liga glory during his first season in Madrid, Barça finished a distant fourth and would do so again in 2001/02. The Catalans could only manage a sixth place finish in a disastrous 2002/03 campaign and it wasn't until Ronaldinho arrived that summer that they challenged again.

As for the future of the Barça presidency, Gaspart has backed Gerard Pique to take office.

Barring a four-year learning experience at Manchester United, the centre-back has been with Barça ever since the age of 10 and has the club in his blood. Former vice-president was his grandfather and president rumours are certainly nothing new.

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Pique could be president. I've known him since he was a kid and he's showing that as a businessman he does very well," Gaspart said. "If [Franz] Beckenbauer, Angel Maria Villar and [Michel] Platini can do it... why not Pique?"

Gaspart perhaps didn't choose ideal examples for Pique to follow, though.

FIFA began formal proceedings against Beckenbauer in 2016 over alleged fraud relating to the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany; former long serving Spanish Football Federation and terms Angel Maria Villar was arrested in 2017 over suspected embezzlement; and Platini is currently banned by FIFA after being found guilty of ethics violations.

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