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Messi’s transfer request just another sign Bartomeu’s disastrous reign needs to end

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The president should have left a long time ago

FC Barcelona Introduce New Player Pedro Gonzalez Lopez - ‘Pedri’ Photo by Noelia Deniz/Urbanandsport /NurPhoto via Getty Images

Josep Maria Bartomeu should quit. But it’s not just that. He should have quit a long time ago.

I never supported his candidacy for reelection. I never supported the predecessor he took over from, Sandro Rosell. But even if you did - it was getting harder and harder to support him. And then this season happened.

And if there were any doubters left - they have surely left by now. Lionel Messi has apparently handed in a transfer request. He is fed up with Bartomeu’s presidency. Who can blame him? I am too. We all are.

Bartomeu has not resigned, and it seems, will not resign.

There have been suggestions that if Bartomeu resigns, Messi will stay. I’m not sure that is the case until I hear that from the man himself. The truth is getting rid of Bartomeu would be the most important step to fixing things, but the institutional rot is such that it would only be the first step of a long process. The season starts in September. We’re in late August.

Ronald Koeman, for better or worse, is Bartomeu’s coach. The players scouted now? Bartomeu’s players. The scouts themselves? Hired by Bartomeu. The analytics team? The nutritionists? The head of the youth section? I could go on. This doesn’t make them bad by default. But it does mean that whoever takes over is not starting a project, but taking over one that is already in motion and supposed to be ready very soon. The point is you can’t re-start an organization in two weeks and have everything fixed by the third.

If Messi’s sole purpose is getting Bartomeu to resign, then perhaps getting him out would be enough. But if Messi’s purpose is to go to a team capable of defeating the juggernaut that is Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League... that team is not suddenly Barcelona even if Bartomeu resigns today.

None of that takes away the simple fact, that no matter what, Bartomeu should have resigned already. The sooner it happens, the better, no matter what.