Ex-Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu arrested in raid: Reports

Police raided the offices of Barcelona yesterday, carrying out several arrests just six days ahead of the club's presidential elections, a Catalan regional police spokesman told AFP.

Spain's Cadena Ser radio said one of those arrested was former club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who resigned in October, along with CEO Oscar Grau.

According to media reports, the operation is linked to last year's investigation into the "BarcaGate" scandal, in which the club denied hiring a company to criticise current and former players on social media to improve the image of the then-president Bartomeu.

Lionel Messi, Pep Guardiola and Xavi Hernandez were among those allegedly targeted by the campaign.

Messi described the controversy as "strange" in an interview with Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo. - AFP