Barcelona's president has admitted the controversy surrounding the signing of Brazilian forward Neymar has tainted the club's reputation.

But Josep Maria Bartomeu told the BBC that the Spanish champions had done nothing wrong in a case that attracted the attention of the Spanish courts.

“It’s embarrassing because we think we are right,” Bartomeu said. “We think we did things properly, that everything was done in the correct and best way.”

It is alleged that Barcelona tried to evade £7.58m in taxes after signing the Brazilian forward from Santos in June last year.

 

With the initial fee paid in the summer, plus a signing-on fee, wages during his five-year deal, agents fees and an £11.2m tax payment, Neymar has cost Barcelona £106.8m

Bartomeu added: “Barcelona acted in the proper way but if somebody thinks that there is damage to the name of Barcelona then there is damage to be repaired.”

Insisting the club had done nothing wrong, he added: “We are not happy with the situation but we will defend our club very strongly.”

In January, Sandro Rosell resigned as Barcelona president following accusations he misappropriated money. He also denies any wrongdoing.

A fortnight ago, Barcelona made a “voluntary contribution” of more than £11m in taxes.

Bartomeu said: “We paid because of prudence, because there is a possible different interpretation. So we want to be prudent. We don’t want to take any risks.

“Barca is a very well known brand name in the world and we have to take care of Barca of the club and doing this is prudent situation to keep the good image of our club.

“We don’t agree with the judge, of course. For us, this is an absurd and unfair situation because we did everything correctly in signing Neymar to FC Barcelona.”

Give the numbers being discussed here, it is ironic that Bartomeu then proceeds to complain about Barcelona’s inability to compete with the wealthier clubs in world football.

“The emergence of Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain has made things more difficult,” he told BBC Sport.

“In the last few years some clubs appear that are owned by one person that sometimes have unlimited resources and at Barca we don’t have unlimited sources.

“Of course we are a very big club. We are the biggest club in the world but when we compete with unlimited resources we have to find other ways, other strategies,” he added.

Like not paying your taxes? Perish the thought.