Barcelona, Spain (4E Sports) – Sandro Rosell stepped down as Barcelona president Thursday amid a court investigation into the “misappropriation” of millions of euros during Neymar’s transfer to the club last summer.
Rosell’s move dominated the Spanish and Catalan press headlines and drew mixed reactions from respected editors and columnists.
Marca’s cover screamed — “Rosell flees, the scandal goes on” — pointing out that he was just the “first victim” of the “Neymar case.”
The front page of the Madrid-supporting AS recalled that many questions still remain by saying “Rosell resigns without explaining why” over a photo of the former Blaugrana chief leaving the stage while his successor Josep Maria Bartomeu applauded.
AS editor Alfredo Relano, for his part, listed some questions that he wants answered: “How much did Neymar cost? In what form? How much was the transfer, how much was for the player, for his father? How much remains in a grey area where other hands can pilfer it? These are the doubts and [Rosell] did not enter into any of them.”
El Pais’ long-serving Barca correspondent Ramon Besa said Rosell’s downfall was triggered by the club’s desire to sign Neymar.
“An emphatic victory which in June was the signing of the Brazilian, chased by other clubs, especially by [Real] Madrid, has become a cruel defeat for the Azulgrana chief,” Besa wrote. “Powerful as vice-president, in opposition and as a candidate, [Rosell] did not know how to act as president of the institution.”
El Mundo — who made the revelation on Monday that as much as 95 million euros changed hands in the Neymar deal — pointed out that Bartomeu “also signed some of the ‘irregular’ contracts between Barca and the No. 11″ so the club’s problems have not ended just because Rosell is now gone.
La Vanguardia, which broke the story that Rosell would step down, went with the headline “Rosell throws in the towel”, Sport had “Rosell Abandons Ship” while Mundo Deportivo’s cover said “Rosell Resigns”.
In his editorial, Mundo Deportivo’s director Santi Nolla wrote “Rosell took yesterday a responsible decision. It was not easy and, for sure, untypical. In a world where nobody resigns, the president has left so as not to damage the club in a court case which is expected to be long, brought about by an ‘activist’ socio.”