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Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has ripped Arthur Melo after the midfielder refused to return to the club and finish the 2019-20 season with the Catalan giants.

The 23-year-old has remained in Brazil after being given time off following the end of the league season in Spain and is refusing to play for the club again in a move which has angered Bartomeu.

The Barcelona president told Sport that Arthur has disrespected both the club and his team-mates and says his actions cannot be justified under any circumstances.

“What Arthur has done is an insult to his teammates, because the team wants to do well in the Champions League. And also to the club. It is illogical that playing such an important title, a player withdraws himself. It is unjustifiable and totally incomprehensible.

“We agreed that until the Champions League ended, he would continue to play for Barça. He is a player who has a certain importance in the team and who could help us.

“But he did not appear from the return of the mini-vacations. It is an unacceptable act of indiscipline. And that is why we have opened a file for him, because there is no argument that justifies his absence. He called and said, ‘I will not return, I will stay in Brazil.’ It is his decision. No one has given him permission.”

Barcelona have opened disciplinary proceedings against the Brazilian and could hand him “the biggest ever fine in the club’s history,” according to Sport.

Arthur will leave Barcelona and join Serie A champions Juventus at the end of the season. The midfielder has agreed a deal worth €82 million ($92m) with the Turin giants.

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Bartomeu Makes Arthur Claim

Barcelona’s decision to sell Arthur has attracted plenty of criticism, particularly as they have agreed to replace the Brazilian with Miralem Pjanic. The Juventus midfielder is seven years older than Arthur and celebrated his 30th birthday in April.

Arthur also made it clear he did not want to leave Barcelona in April when speculation he could depart the Camp Nou first arose.

“The only option that interests me is staying at Barcelona. I feel good here and I am grateful to the club and the coaching staff for the confidence they have in me. That is another reason to be totally clear on the fact my only desire is to remain here.”

Yet a deal with Juventus was eventually agreed. Bartomeu also offered his view on the deal with a comment that is likely to surprise many Barcelona supporters.

“We are talking about a player who cannot renew for Barça because he wants too much money, he has a better offer and he tells us, Barça cannot match that offer, he decides to leave and then a bid is launched.”

Arthur has struggled for game time since his move to Juventus was announced but could still have played a part in Barcelona’s Champions League campaign. The Catalan giants play the second leg of their last-16 tie with Napoli in a week’s time and are without midfielders Arturo Vidal and Sergio Busquets due to suspension.

Yet there certainly seems no way back for the Brazilian at Barcelona now in what is a sad end to the season for the midfielder. Arthur looked ready to enjoy a long career at the Camp Nou when he arrived from Gremio in 2018 but must now seek to get his career back on track in Serie A.

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Neymar and Mbappe will NEVER leave PSG, claims chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi in transfer blow to Barcelona and Real Madrid

NEYMAR and Kylian Mbappe will NEVER leave Paris Saint-Germain, according to club chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

The star pair helped PSG mount an unbelievable late comeback to stun this season's surprise package Atalanta 2-1 in the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday night.

4Neymar and Kylian Mbappe celebrate PSG's winner in the Champions LeagueCredit: AP:Associated Press TRANSFER NEWS LIVE: Breaking news, juicy gossip and the biggest deals

The French side scored two goals in injury time as strikes from Marquinhos and Stoke flop Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting secured their place in the last four.

Over 200 fans celebrated the stunning victory back in Paris by letting off flares and chanting in the streets as their team reached the semi-finals for the first time in 25 years.

And club president Al-Khelaifi was asked about the future of his two most prominent players after the game.

He told RMC Sport: "Ney[mar], with Kylian [Mbappe], is one of the best players in the world.

"He's in the top three.

"Neymar was the man of the match, he was great.

"He and Kylian will never leave.

"They'll stay with PSG."


The news will come as a massive blow to Spanish El Clasico giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Neymar joined PSG for a world record £198million in 2017 but has been consistently linked with a return to the Nou Camp ever since.

Previous reports suggested the Catalan giants were not hiding the fact they would welcome a return for the Brazilian, who is contracted in Paris until June 2022.

The player himself even reportedly told pals he wanted a return to Catalonia this summer after hopefully winning the Champions League.

But Barca have been hit hard by the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

And president Josep Bartomeu poured cold water on the prospect of breaking the bank to lure the 28-year-old back to Spain.


He told BeIN Sports: "The financial situation isn't good. We don't expect to complete any expensive transfers.

"And not just us, any side in football. Especially the big teams."

Barca's arch rivals Real Madrid were also linked with a shock move for Neymar with president Florentino Perez apparently dreaming of a move.

But Los Blancos have been more regularly rumoured to secure a deal for French World Cup winner Mbappe.

The 21-year-old's contract runs until the end of the 2021-22 season but Madrid were confident of forcing a sale next summer.

Mbappe grew up with posters of Cristiano Ronaldo playing for the Galacticos on his wall.

But last month confirmed he would remain at the Parc des Princes for at least another season.

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Mbappe, who joined in 2017 from Monaco, said: "I just have to say that I'm here, I'm in the project for a fourth year.

"For everyone, the directors, the supporters. I'm going to keep going, no matter what.

"I want to help the team win trophies and be the best in the world."

Neymar jumps on Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting during PSG post match interview

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