Barcelona fans on social media were furious at the sight of their club’s former president Josep Maria Bartomeu in attendance at Sunday’s Copa del Rey clash away to Barbastro.
Television images showed Bartomeu watching in the stands as Xavi’s side laboured to a 3-2 win over the fourth-tier outfit in Aragon.
Crippling debts, a failed sporting project and the Barçagate scandal left Bartomeu facing a vote of no confidence at Camp Nou and he resigned in October 2020, along with his entire board of directors.
Barça’s delicate financial situation meant they were unable to keep Lionel Messi the following summer and most fans blame Bartomeu’s mismanagement for the Argentine’s exit.
The Catalans have also found it difficult to compete in the transfer market recently, with returning president Joan Laporta struggling to balance the books after the club spent beyond its means during Bartomeu’s mandate.
It is unlikely that Bartomeu would dare attend a Barcelona home match, but 225 kilometres away by road in a small stadium with mostly home fans present, he seemed happy enough in the television images.
His presence at the game produced an array of abusive and threatening messages on social media and on the pitch, Barcelona produced one of their poorest performances in recent memory.
Barça went two goals up through Fermin Lopez and Raphinha but rarely looked comfortable and even after a Robert Lewandowski penalty made it 3-1 late in the game, Barbastro closed the deficit again with a spot-kick of their own in added time.
“We suffered a bit,” Xavi admtted after the match. “We made things difficult for ourselves towards the end, but we’re in the last 16.”
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