Rivaldo Exclusive: Bartomeu uses VAR as excuse for Barca's problems

Barcelona's Bartomeu, Setien and Abidal
Is Bartomeu (far left) using VAR as a distraction?

Betfair Ambassador Rivaldo criticises Barcelona's president for making excuses for his team's problems and urges Barca to sign Neymar this summer...

"I do not agree with Barca president Bartomeu's claims that there is a refereeing bias towards Madrid. Bartomeu is simply trying to distract the media from his club's problems."

Barcelona beat Espanyol in the Catalan derby on Wednesday but I expected a much better match performance from Quique Setien's team. It was a disappointing step backwards after they'd played so well in beating Villarreal on Sunday. It leaves me worried because Real Madrid aren't slipping up in the title race.

President comments about VAR are just a distraction

Sometimes you have the right to feel upset about refereeing or VAR decisions but I do not agree with Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu's claims that there is a bias towards Madrid. Bartomeu is simply trying to distract the media from his club's problems.

Barcelona are still fighting for the La Liga title, and they're still in the Champions League, but this is not a good moment for the club. Bartomeu is trying to use stuff like VAR to justify himself to the fans and pretend that his club's difficulties aren't the fault of himself, the players or the manager.

On my opinion, Barça's problem isn't VAR or any refereeing decisions, their main problem is the quality of their football that needs to improve and become again that style of play that everybody loves to see around the world.

The team was leading La Liga before the lockdown and now is four points behind Madrid, so you can't say VAR is the main reason for that, especially when the team is not playing well.


Barca's team spirit was affected by the lockdown, some of their players aren't in peak condition and playing without fans has removed some of the emotion from their play. But Real Madrid managed to find their rhythm right away and took advantage of that.

Barcelona have won the last two La Liga titles and it's their Champions League campaign that concerns me most now. The team still must face Napoli at Camp Nou in the last-16 second leg, and without fans in the stadium the Italians might have a chance, especially as they are playing well now.

Barcelona should sign Neymar and forget Martinez

Lautaro Martinez's release clause has recently expired, so Internazionale can now ask for more money to sell him and, apparently, they want to extend his contract and keep him at the club. For that reason, I think Barcelona should refocus on signing Neymar this summer.

According to recent news, Leonardo might now be interested in negotiating the Brazilian star's move from PSG. I believe Neymar joining Lionel Messi would help Barcelona become again that sensational team that won many titles several years ago.

Neymar would be the best possible signing for Barcelona as he will cheer up the squad and give a nice alternative to decide matches, allowing Messi to take a rest occasionally.

Nice to see Coutinho back

Bayern Munich recently won DFB Pokal after beating Bayer Leverkusen and one piece of good news from that match was seeing Philippe Coutinho back on the pitch, even if he only played eight minutes.

It's nice to know that he's recovered from his injury, already training without limitations and ready to help his team. Clubs interested in signing him this summer know he can give his best in the future.

I believe he will have many interested clubs in the summer and he can still be the great player he was at Liverpool. Before that, he might help Bayern win the Champions League. He is such a talented player who can make the difference with a flash of genius.

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