Bartomeu: "The rejuvenation of the Barça squad is happening"

Speaking exclusively to SPORT, Bartomeu backs the older members of the squad whilst saying there will be an injection of youth this summer

 Bartomeu destacó en la entrevista a SPORT la importancia de La Masia en el Barça que viene | Rubén Moreno

With four signings confirmed and three call-ups from Barça B - Riqui Puig, Ansu Fati and Araujo - suggest that Barça will have a much younger squad going into next season.

Albert Masnou

Javier Giraldo

@javiergiraldo

Barça president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, has exclusively told SPORT what the plans are for the squad next season and how vital the older players will be for those youngsters.

Do you believe this Barça squad has run out of steam? 

I really don't agree when people say that this group of players, who are over 30, have lost their ambition. They're the best. They play really well, train hard and make an effort. Of course they have ambition. The best combination is mixing their experience with what's coming next. Their ambition is intact with a desire to win. Sometimes they get angry and make comments but that's because they are competitive and want to win.

With the signings of Pedri and Trincao, as well as the three Barça B players being promoted, are we witnessing the rejuvenation of this Barça squad? 

That change is happening. But the most beautiful part of football is combining those players who came through the academy and have spent many years winning things with the next generation of talent who come through desperate to win. The older players are still ambitious: I'm not talking about just Leo, but also Suarez, Pique, Alba, Busquets, etc. Those players who are already in their 30s. But we can't forget about others like Lenglet, Dembele, ter Stegen and Semedo, who are still young. Now three more youngsters are coming in, including Matheus, and three who are being promoted from the B side. The arrival of seven players in one year, if we include Pjanic, isn't bad. It's a third of the squad.

How does Barça B not playing in LaLiga Smartbank change things?

On a sporting level, it doesn't change much. We believe the players can develop in Segunda B as much as the Segunda A. Busquets and Pedro are good examples of this as they came from the same division to play in LaLiga. Economically speaking, it's different. Segunda A is a more professional league and the income is greater. In Segunda B, Barça spend more than they earn. But what matters is the sporting side and in that sense, both leagues are good.

But there are players who can't continue playing in the Segunda B.

In some cases we can value loaning them out to players in the Segunda A or LaLiga. I'd recommend they don't leave the club, that they remain patient and listen to the coaches at Barça. 

Which players will be promoted to the first team? 

Araujo, Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati will be senior squad members next season. At the moment, we don't plan on promoting anybody else but there's a long way to go. We still have preseason and that'll involve a lot of Barça B players.

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