Jeremy Mathieu has today taken aim at Barcelona and newspaper Sport for how they treated him during his time with the Catalan giants.
Mathieu, now 33, endured an underwhelming stint at Barcelona between 2014 and 2017, having joined the club from La Liga rivals Valencia.
The French international struggled to rediscover the form that had seen him earn his first call-ups to Les Bleus senior squad from 2011 on, and was often singled out for heavy criticism from Barca’s fans for individual mistakes.
As a result, Mathieu moved on to Portuguese outfit Sporting CP on a free transfer this summer, with the Sochaux youth product having enjoyed a successful start to life in Lisbon.
‘Very harsh’ treatment
Speaking in an interview with Spanish outlet Marca today, Mathieu was questioned on his time at Barcelona, ahead of facing off against the Blaugrana in a Champions League matchup this Wednesday.
He did not hold back in his criticism, with some of the highlights below:
If you score a goal this Wednesday, will you celebrate or do you feel enough connection with the people from Barcelona that would make you hold back?
“I don’t know. I have a lot of respect for my ex-teammates and the fans. If I celebrate it will be because of [club president] Josep Maria Bartomeu and [technical secretary] Robert Fernandez, because I think the way they treated me was very harsh.”
And beyond the president and Robert, do you feel the press was unfair to you in Spain?
“The press no, just the newspaper Sport. I’m a little pissed off with them because every time I played they always had something bad to say against me. But hey, that’s how it was. Football is a team sport and when you lose it is never the fault of one person. That’s my opinion.”
“I have seen the match against Juventus again and everyone says that I was the problem. It is true that for the goals I was one against one and I did not win the ball, it deflected off me, but then Juve pass the ball and they could say what are Mascherano or Pique doing, but no. That’s just my opinion.”
Has your life has changed a lot since you moved to Lisbon?
“Compared to Barcelona yes. Here I feel a little like when I was at Valencia: it is a family club. I have felt very comfortable from the first day.”
Did you leave a lot of friends behind at Barcelona?
“No I wouldn’t say friends, more colleagues. It was fantastic for me to share a dressing room with players like that. Inside a club I prefer to have colleagues rather than friends. Friends means something important.”
Ok, so you are not expecting calls from Barcelona players before the game to talk about it? Who was the colleague with which you spent most time?
“No one in particular, I spoke with everyone but away from the pitch I am a family person and I prefer to be with my children and my wife.”