Roma president Jim Pallotta has criticised Barcelona for acting ‘unethically and immorally’ in their signing of Brazilian winger Malcom – and suggested they should send them star player as compensation.
The club seemed to have a deal sewn up with Bordeaux for 21-year-old Brazilian winger Malcom – to the extent that they confirmed the deal on , and Roma fans were gathered at the airport to welcome the player.
However at the 11th hour Barca swooped with a £45m bid which blew Roma’s offer out the water, and Malcom failed to board his chartered private plane to Rome.
Instead the next day he signed for Barcelona, leaving Roma embarrassed and Pallotta furious.
In a long rant to American radio station , he claimed to have rejected an apology from Barca over the way they acted, and said he would only forgive if they allowed Roma to sign Malcom – or Messi.
Pallotta said: ‘There’s no question that we had a deal with Malcom, then Barca jumped into the mix unethically and immorally. They knew this was done.
‘I have zero problem battling it out for a player with Inter or Bayern or whoever and all of us going through the same process. That’s the way it works.
‘Sure some people say “it wasn’t signed”. That’s bull****. We all know how it works. The kid comes in for the medical and the signing is done.
‘Other teams know not to come in and do what Barca did. Bordeaux should have never been doing what they did. Their actions were ridiculous.
‘For Bordeaux to come back and say ‘Oh well, we didn’t sign it…’, well, they asked if they could put it on their website and tweet that he’s going to Rome.
‘Barcelona apologised about their actions and how they did things. I don’t accept the apology at all. The only way I’ll accept Barca’s apology is if they send the player to us, and that’s not going to happen. Maybe, as a goodwill gesture, the very least they could do is send us Messi.’
Barca’s late dash for Malcom came when a £65m bid for their primary target, Chelsea midfielder Willian, was unexpectedly rejected.
So they moved for Malcom, tempting him with the No 7 shirt – even as Roma’s official account tweeted that a deal with Bordeaux was agreed.
Eric Abidal, Barcelona sporting director, called Bordeaux president Stephane Martin and told the French club Barca would offer them more money for their young star.
Pallotta had insisted that they make a higher counter offer, but when this was subsequently topped by Barcelona, Roma pulled out not wishing to partake in a bidding war they were likely to lose.