Joan Gaspart, the former FC Barcelona president from July 2000 to Feb. 2003, used some pretty choice words with regards to former players Luis Figo and Neymar when speaking with Radio Marca on Monday.
Gaspart was a hugely successful vice president when serving under Josep Lluis Nunez at Barca, but his short-lived stint as president was immediately rocked by the departure of club captain Luis Figo to eternal rivals Real Madrid.
Figo left for Real Madrid in July of 2000 for a world record fee of nearly $77 million, and Gaspart was elected president that very same month. Gaspart promptly — and in hindsight, disastrously — used that money to prize Emmanuel Petit and Marc Overmars from Arsenal and Gerard from Valencia.
After two and a half years of diminishing performances at the Camp Nou, Gaspart stepped down with the entire club in turmoil.
On Monday, Gaspart was asked to draw a line between the departure of Figo and the possibility of Neymar using PSG as a bridge to Real Madrid. Gaspart, still fuming over Figo’s departure after 18 years, had this to say:
“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. Neymar went for money, full stop.”
While Gaspart’s opinion on Figo is understandable, it’s interesting to see his view towards Neymar as well. While many believe that Neymar left Barcelona to escape the shadow of Lionel Messi, become the main man in Paris and lead the club to its first-ever Champions League title, Gaspart says that it was all about that $681,000 per week (after tax).