The Premier League Is The Best Football Competition – Barca Chief Declares

The Premier League is a bigger rival to Barcelona than Real Madrid, says Josep Maria Bartomeu – president of the La Liga champions.

The 20 English top-flight teams will share £5.136bn for live domestic TV coverage of matches from next season.

“Premier League teams will have an incredible financial situation from now on and we are worried,” Bartomeu told BBC sports editor Dan Roan.

Barcelona face Arsenal in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Luis Enrique’s side go into the first leg of the last-16 tie at the Emirates unbeaten in 32 league and cup games and aiming for unprecedented back-to-back Champions League titles.

‘We want to keep our talents’

Spain’s top two teams – Barca and Real – previously negotiated their own TV deals, but have now been stopped from doing so under a new Spanish law.

It means new rules will see rights to show La Liga pooled and sold collectively, bringing it more in line with the Premier League – which will see the bottom club still earn £99m next season.

He added: “The Premier League is the best football competition. It has the most interest for fans and most revenues. They are doing things good and keeping teams in the competition where everyone being equal is of interest for everybody.

“We have different budgets in Spain and it would be difficult for someone like [current Premier League leaders] Leicester to be top of the league.

“Our rivals are the Premier League, they are the big adversaries. We have to do our best to increase our revenues and our financial situation to make the talent of our teams stay with us.

“That is why I am so worried and we are working on this. We want to keep the talent at home.

“I know our players are in touch with other clubs, it’s normal. None of our players said they want to leave. Most get better economical offers, but our players are not in Barcelona for the money, they are there because of the football and the fans’ commitment.”

‘Pep has very good ideas for football’

This summer, ex-Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola will take over at Manchester City. The Spaniard won 14 trophies in four years at the Nou Camp.

City’s chief executive officer Ferran Soriano and director of football Txiki Begiristain both previously worked at Barcelona.

“I don’t think City are replicating anything,” said Bartomeu. “Like a lot of clubs in the world, they have a project to make the club grow.

“Some of their people used to be with us at Barcelona and they are bringing their experience to the club. This is normal because in Europe there is the movement of professionals from one to another.

“Pep will do well at any club, he is a very good coach and did a fantastic job at Barcelona. He was in the playing arena for years and I had the privilege of working with him for two years. He has very good ideas for football which he brought to Bayern and now City.

“They are not copying, they are evolution of an idea and Pep will do it great. The Premier League will have the advantage of having one of the best coaches in the world.”

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