Barcelona president Bartomeu launches re-election campaign

Josep Maria Bartomeu said Barcelona club members who have enjoyed both "the treble and the trident" last season should vote to re-elect him as president.

Outgoing Blaugrana club chief Bartomeu is one of six early candidates declared ahead of elections at the Camp Nou on July 16 -- a poll which he himself was pressured into calling 12 months early during a week of institutional chaos at the club last January.

Bartomeu's chances of re-election looked slim at that point, however the outgoing board are now favoured by many to keep their positions due to the role of the team's attackers Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez in the lifting the 2014-15 Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey trophies.

Although his official campaign slogan is "Bo per al Barca" (Good for Barca), it was talk of the treble and the trident which dominated the 52-year-old engineer's launch event on Friday.

"We have the treble, and we have the trident," Bartomeu said. "We are closing a winning cycle, and we opened others without making noise. We are the first club in the world in terms of income, we are strong in culture, the language. We are a global club and we are confident about presenting ourselves -- Barca is enviable.

"We still have many things to do. It is good to be leaders, but we must improve this position. If we keep winning, we will be even more than a club."

Bartomeu's main opponent looks to be another ex-Barca president Joan Laporta, during whose seven years in the position the team won 12 trophies, including the club's only other treble season in 2008-09 with Pep Guardiola then coach.

Bartomeu preferred to point out that Barca had been in financial difficulties when Laporta left, and he entered as then a vice president to 2010 election winner Sandro Rosell.

"We took up the club in a good sporting situation, but financially troubled," Bartomeu said. "We took over the club in 2010, and the financial structure was unsustainable. There are six pre-candidates and some of the visible heads I recognise. We moved the elections forward knowing that it was bad for us, but good for Barca. We all focused on support the football team with the trident, which helped to bring the treble. If we do our jobs well, we have no rival."

Bartomeu was less keen to talk about the club's ongoing legal battles, including the numerous investigations into the controversial Neymar signing in 2013 which could see both he and Rosell facing charges in court (with the latter having resigned when investigations began in January 2014).

"The situation is unfair," he said. "We will always defend the club. Our objective is for everything to be made clear. It will all end up in nothing. The important thing is that [Neymar] plays here."

Barcelona currently have no sporting director, with Bartomeu having fired Andoni Zubizarreta from the position last January. He said he would appoint a new technical secretary, without giving any names, while recalling his achievement in signing up coach Luis Enrique to a new deal earlier this summer.

"We will bring back the position of technical secretary, although we will reveal that in the future," he said. "What I like is that Luis Enrique has renewed his contract. That parked the debate quickly, after there had been certain insecurity. We had to end that debate. He came to say that, whatever happened, he was excited about winning many more trophies."

Another controversial subject, the club's sponsorship deals with Qatar, was also defended.

"At last year's AGM, we said we had a company which would study the best proposals," Bartomeu said. "The only serious proposal we have further than 2016, as of today, is from Qatar. But that will be decided by the socios and shareholders. With a sponsor there are alliances and money. This club needs to generate revenues to keep being the best in the world."

Asked about Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos, who it was earlier claimed had been offered as a "secret weapon" to candidate Jordi Majo, Bartomeu said he knew nothing.

"[Ramos] has not been offered to me," he said.

On a potential €80 million move for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, something another candidate Agusti Benedito has claimed, Bartomeu said he had no knowledge of any current contact.

"I am outside the club now," he said. "I do not know if they are negotiating with Juventus, a club I respect a lot."