- Cancelo and Felix told to earn permanent contracts
- Reportedly took pay cuts to join Barcelona
- Deco hails Messi as greatest Barca player
WHAT HAPPENED? The Portuguese duo of Felix and Cancelo, who switched to Barcelona on one-year loan deals from Atletico Madrid and Manchester City respectively on the final day of the summer transfer window, have been challenged by Deco to earn permanent moves come the end of the season.
The Barca director was also asked if the two players took pay cuts to complete their loan moves, with the Liga champions currently not in a strong enough financial position to offer lucrative contracts to new players.
WHAT THEY SAID: When quizzed on Felix and Cancelo at his official presentation as Barca's new sporting director, Deco told reporters: "They arrived at the last minute and they are players who contribute a lot to the squad. They have to demonstrate their abilities here. Barca has the ability to inspire. We expect a lot from them, but the season will tell us how they progress things.
"Neither Cancelo nor Joao Felix have a purchase option. It is a simple one-year transfer. If they do well we will try to retain them, but for now, it is a transfer."
Asked if the Portugal team-mates took pay cuts to finalise their respective loan moves, Deco replied: "Everyone has made efforts to come. I can’t tell you the players’ contracts, but La Liga imputes different things."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Deco also fielded questions on his former team-mate Lionel Messi, who snubbed a chance to reunite with Barcelona after leaving Paris Saint-Germain. The Argentine World Cup winner went to Inter Miami in MLS instead, but Deco holds no bitter feelings over his final decision.
"Leo is a friend. I am very fond of him. Now I talk to him less, because he is far away," he said. "We all wanted to have Leo but it has not been possible due to situations that we already know. He is the best footballer in the history of the club. club. I see him happy and enjoying himself at Inter Miami. As a Barcelona fan and a fan of Leo, I wish him the best."
IN THREE PHOTOS:@FCBarcelona_es
WHAT NEXT? Xavi's Barcelona side will be next seen in action against Real Betis in La Liga on Saturday, with Felix and Cancelo both in line to make their debuts.