Jeremy Mathieu believes he was unfairly singled out for criticism at Barcelona and would love to prove a point to president Josep Maria Bartomeu and technical director Robert Fernandez when Sporting CP host the La Liga leaders on Wednesday.
Mathieu moved to Lisbon during the off-season after an underwhelming three-year stint at Camp Nou, during which he announced his surprise retirement from international football.
If he nets again against Barca in the Champions League, he told Marca any celebration would be aimed in the direction of Bartomeu and Fernandez, whose reputations took a battering amid the fallout of Neymar’s world-record switch to Paris Saint-Germain.
“I don’t know [if I would celebrate],” he said. “I have a lot of respect for my former team-mates and the fans.
“If I celebrate it will be for Bartomeu and Robert Fernandez, because I think the way they treated me was very difficult for me.
He also hit back at critics for making him the scapegoat in Barca’s heavy defeat to Juventus last season.
Mathieu continued, “Football is a team sport and when you lose it is never the fault of one, that is my opinion.
“I have seen the match against Juventus and everyone says that I was the problem. It is true that [on the first] goal I am one against one and do not tackle, stand off and then they make a pass.
“They could say ‘what does Mascherano or Pique do?’ but no. It is my opinion.”