Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has finally walked away from the club but only after taking the pin out of another grenade and throwing it over his shoulder as he left.
Has he really signed Barcelona up to the new European Super League? What happens at the Catalan club now he’s gone? Is this a victory for Lionel Messi?
Sportsmail looks at some of the questions left unanswered by his 35-minute resignation speech.
Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu has finally walked away from the club but left it in a state
Is his resignation a surprise?
He had little choice really: 20,000 fans had signed a petition forcing a referendum in which the question would have been: should the board be removed? That number of signatures alone – and in the middle of a pandemic – showed the level of feelings against him.
His only hope was that local authorities in Barcelona would block the referendum because of the coronavirus pandemic. As soon as they said it could go ahead it made more sense for him to jump before he was pushed.
Over 20,000 fans signed a petition forcing a referendum in the middle of a global pandemic
And it was in his departure announcement that he said he had approved the requirements [for the club] to be part of a European Super League. Should this send shockwaves through football?
It’s really no secret that Barcelona and Real Madrid are both key players in this cabal of clubs trying to cook up a new world order for football in which they get much richer and everyone else gets poorer.
But what is less clear is how much weight it really carries that Bartomeu and his board – now history – have declared Barcelona part of a league that still doesn’t exist.
In his last board meeting Bartomeu could have ratified any number of things – a Barcelona space programme that would have seen the team train on the moon – they knew they would not be in place to advance the process.
Bartomeu was facing a vote of no confidence at Barcelona before his resignation on Tuesday
He even added in that resignation monologue – that ate into the first half of Tuesday night’s Champions League games – that this approval would need to be ratified by the new board. It will also need to be accepted by the club’s members.
But it certainly does point to confirmation that talks among the big clubs are very much happening and that Barcelona are part of those discussions. It was just phrased in a somewhat deceivingly grandiose way, as if he was cutting the ribbon on the new league.
A bold statement though which has got people talking…
More importantly it’s got them talking about the future instead of the immediate past. It’s not the first time Bartomeu has played the distraction card.
Remember when it was announced in April that the club would sell naming rights for the Nou Camp and give half the money to fight coronavirus?
That announcement came amid accusations that the board had hired I3 Venture to monitor the club’s social media presence, a firm subsequently linked to social media accounts behind negative stories about important figures at the club.
There is still no naming rights stadium sponsorship deal, but it stopped people asking why payments to the I3 Ventures had me broken up into smaller instalments thus meaning they avoided internal auditing.
Bartomeu announced that he gave the club’s approval to be part of new European Super League – a concept that has been shot down by UEFA
Bartomeu also used similar distraction tactics earlier this year when it was announced the club would sell naming rights for the Nou Camp amid accusations of the club’s social media scandal
Is that what his presidency will be remembered for?
That and almost losing Messi.
‘The truth is that there has been no clear project here for a long time, they juggle and plug holes with no real plan,’ was Messi’s appraisal of the Bartomeu years and it will be hard for that not to be the legacy.
But they did win things did they not?
They won the treble in 2015! But they won it thanks in no small part to the contributions of Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Ivan Rakitic and Luis Suarez, all signings made by Andoni Zubizareta, the Sporting Director sacked in the January of that year.
The position of Sporting Director became a revolving door thereafter, and a pretty disastrous run of poor signings culminated in wasting the £198million earned from Neymar’s transfer to Paris Saint-Germain on Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho.
Barcelona won the treble during Bartomeu’s first year as president of the club
However, the departures of Neymar (centre) and Luis Suarez (left) left Barcelona fans angry
What happens now?
Carles Tusquets comes in as a sort of caretaker president. His temporary board have to organise new elections within a three-month maximum period. It’s expected that in early January members will vote for a new permanent president.
Who will win?
Catalan businessman Victor Font will be the favourite. He was the first to officially confirm he would run and has Xavi Hernandez lined up as coach with Carles Puyol a possible director of football.
Joan Laporta is expected to stand too. He oversaw the club’s greatest period under Pep Guardiola and has an excellent relationship with Lionel Messi.
Club legend Xavi is being lined up as a future replacement for current boss Ronald Koeman
And whoever wins surely that’s Messi staying… and is it Koeman out too?
It’s a major boost for Barcelona supporters who want to see Messi retire at their club.
As for Koeman, it’s true he was hired by Bartomeu but he could survive the change. He will almost certainly get to see out his first season and if Laporta wins he could be left in charge for next season.
Even Font has said he would not make a change if Koeman is doing well. Xavi will not want to replace someone unfairly dumped just to make way for him.
Bartomeu’s departure is a major boost for Barca fans who want to see Messi retire at their club