?FC Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has urged defender Sergi Roberto to commit his future to the La Liga giants, urging the Spanish full-back that ‘you have to retire here’.
Speaking to Barca TV and quoted by Spanish publication ?Sport, after Roberto won the Premi Barca Jugadors prize on Monday – which recognizes fair play – Bartomeu then called upon the 25-year-old to agree a new deal and remain in Catalonia for the remainder of his career.
Bartomeu said: “Roberto’s commitment to the club and to his teammates, his humility [they’re] all things that we really value.
“He will always be linked to our club. He has to remain here for many more year yet… [turned to Sergi] you have to retire at Barcelona because that would make us very happy.”
Having beaten the likes of Samuel Umtiti, Andres Iniesta, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Gerard Pique and Lionel Messi to the club’s award, Roberto took away the honour voted upon by a panel of 15 members.
La Blaugrana’s versatile right-sided player – who can play as full-back, wing-back or even right winger, has in previous seasons found filling the boots of Dani Alves at right-back a particularly tough task.
Having now been usurped by Nelson Semedo as Barca’s first-choice in that position, the Spanish defender faces a uphill task for regular game time in Barcelona.
Despite that, Roberto remains a fan and indeed club favourite having been part of the club’s remarkable 6-1 comeback against Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League earlier this year – scoring the dramatic stoppage-time decider.
Bartomeu is keen to now tie down Roberto to a new long-term deal, and the Barca head honcho himself keeps the memory of last March against Les Parisiens, as one of the fondest of his time in the boardroom.
“I have seen a lot of comebacks”, Bartomeu states, “but he allowed us to enjoy the mother of all comebacks!”