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Barcelona players accept Bartomeu explanation over social media accounts - Setien

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Barcelona manager Quique Setien has said his players are willing to accept president Josep Maria Bartomeu's explanation that the club was not behind social media accounts which criticised Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique.

SER Catalunya alleged on Monday that Barca hired a company to clean up Bartomeu's image and smear other people linked to the club, including players, legends and potential presidents. Barca denied all knowledge of the social media posts and later rescinded their contract with the company in question, I3 Ventures, when evidence was provided that it ran the accounts.

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Sources told ESPN that Bartomeu held a meeting with Setien and the first-team's four captains -- Messi, Pique, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto -- on Tuesday to explain that the club was not aware of I3 Venture's actions. 

Messi said on Thursday that the whole situation was "strange" and he would wait and see if more evidence came out, but Setien said everyone was happy to take Bartomeu's explanation at face value.

"Of course we accepted what [Bartomeu] said," the coach said in a news conference on Friday. "He said the same things to us that he had said in other places. I won't go over it anymore; neither will the captains. The issue has been put to bed.

"It is not something that helps with what we have to focus on, which is football, so we will leave it to the side. I don't worry too much about these things. The explanation has been given and that's that."

Barcelona confirmed the signing of Martin Braithwaite from Leganes on Thursday when they paid his €18 million buy-out clause after being granted permission to sign a player outside the transfer window following a long-term injury to Ousmane Dembele. Leganes cannot sign a replacement. 

Braithwaite, 28, goes straight into the squad for Saturday's league game against Eibar. B team left-back Sergio Akieme is also included with Jordi Alba injured.

"Of course we will see him start a game at some point," Setien responded when asked if Danish international Braithwaite could go straight into the side this weekend.

"We have to decide when. It's maybe a little premature right now. He comes in good form, no doubt about that, but there are many concepts that we have to explain and he has to understand.

"Martin is a player that we had been following for a while. He is a player with very specific qualities that are going to help us a lot. He can play different positions and fits well. I have a lot of faith that he can help a lot. He is not just a good footballer, but he has a good head, too, and he's going to add a lot of things."

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