Marc Bartra has revealed that in 2011, Real Madrid offered him three times the salary he was on at Barcelona, to leave the Catalan club and join them instead. However, advice and counselling of Carles Puyol convinced him to stay.
In an insightful interview with Spanish newspaper, El País, Barcelona defender Marc Bartra revealed that Real Madrid had been hot on his heals, trying to lure him away from the Catalan club, with the promise of a higher salary and a much brighter future.
“They came looking for me in 2011 and offered to make me the highest paid player at Real Madrid Castilla. They offered me treble what I was on at Barca. I still hadn’t made my début with the B team then either. I really hit me, it was a shock they wanted me, but once I gave it thought for a few seconds I thought… Real Madrid? No way!”
Having made that decision to stay with Barca in 2011, Bartra also revealed that ahead of this season, all around him there were offers of better salaries and more playing time, but once again, captain Puyol convinced him to stay and keep plugging away.
“He was very decisive. A few months back I was thinking about leaving, but he told me to stay, to have patience, that I would have my chances. It was something similar to what happened ahead of my first contract renewal (in 2011), when everyone was telling me to leave, to accept offers from elsewhere, because they were much better than Barca, whilst I was the only one that wanted to stay.”
“So, I spoke with Puyol and he told me that when he first renewed, Barca always paid less than other clubs, but he never said anything because he was confident in himself. He ended up convincing me, but even more so this time, I wanted to stay.”
Bartra explained that despite there being times when he’s been close to leaving, he has always been and shall remain, Barca through and through.
“I’m playing more for Barca than for myself, I say that with my hand on my heart, because neither my parents or my agent saw that clearly. Nor my friends, who kept telling me that Barca were pushing me too far. I thought there was nobody more culé than I was, until I met Xavi that is… What a guy! He’s more Barca than the badge!