Barcelona Champions League Featured Interviews

Joan Laporta: “For me, Dembélé is better than Mbappé”

Joan Laporta at the FC Barcelona vs Villarreal match in LaLiga (Photo by: Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

Joan Laporta has recently given an interview to TV3 in which he spoke about the sponsors, the team, the stadium, and has also confirmed the return of Dr. Ricard Pruna, among other things.

In an interview with TV3’s ‘Els matins’ program, Joan Laporta, president of Barça, reviewed Barça’s current affairs, both in terms of sports and institutions.

This is what he had to say :

On Dembélé :

“He wants to stay and we want him to stay. I know he wants to stay because we have a good relationship with him. He has an agent and there are a number of circumstances. We have to show them that not everything is money. For me, Dembélé is better than Mbappé.”  

On Espai Barça:

“There are now around 105,000 members with the right to vote. The delegates have already authorized the investment for the Espai Barça project. It will become the largest and most innovative sports and entertainment complex in a European city. We understood that we want the maximum possible participation. There will be no additional cost for members. In addition to Goldman Sachs, there were more groups interested in financing the investment involved in Espai Barça. In no case is the property at risk. Barça will always be owned by the members, and current investors understand that this is the main asset of the club, and they even like it. We have inherited a significant debt, but this project is not an expense, it is a crucial step that our competitors have already taken and if we don’t do it we will be left behind. We are coming from mismanagement and one of the consequences is the delay, in terms of modernization, of the facilities. There will be a monitoring committee and the members will be informed in a timely manner about where each of the euros we will invest will go. “

On the new name of the Camp Nou :

“We have a minimum of 5 offers to name the Camp Nou. We are looking to get the most out of it. It would be about 30 million euros per season and, if it is 10 years, it would be about 300 million. I will not say names because it is the subject of negotiations. The important thing now is to know that there is interest in Barça.”

On the new T-shirt sponsor :

“Once we have the authorization to run the Barça space, the priority is to find the sponsor for the shirt. It could be that Rakuten is renewed, but there are other companies that are offering more. For us, defending democratic and ethical rights when choosing a partner is essential.”

On the impact of Messi’s departure :

“Everybody at the club wanted him to stay. I always said that we would do our best within the club’s financial possibilities. It was impossible due to the salary margin. I never asked him to play for free, it was absurd. In any case, a controversy with a false origin has formed. The club must have a good relationship with the best player in its history and Leo will always have Barça as his home. In the summer, we noticed an impact, but with the surveys, we have now we see that people and investors see that a Barça without Messi is also attractive. The fact that there are a number of young players helps us. We had a good proposal to sponsor the shirt from India, but it fell through with Messi’s departure.”    

On Dr. Pruna’s signing :

“Ricard Pruna’s return is already agreed upon. I don’t know what he will need to join, but in principle, he is already with us. We have not paid any clause in the process.”

On winter signings :

“We will try to strengthen the squad, but at the moment we have no salary margin. Therefore, we have to let the football director work to see what possibilities we have. Ferran Torres is one of the players that the football management is focused on and we’ll see how it goes. We need to keep an eye on a lot of issues.”

On Messi winning the Ballon d’Or :

“In Paris, I didn’t talk to Messi. I felt happy for him because he deserves it, and I’m proud because Barça is part of this award.”

On the women’s team playing at the Camp Nou :

“The moment we see that the Camp Nou will be filled, yes. But now, we don’t even fill the Estadi Johan Cruyff. Imagine that we are going to play at Camp Nou and there are 20,000 people. It’s a rumor that the Arsenal-Barça fixture will have a historic capacity. Let’s see how it goes.”

On the Super League project :

“The project is moving forward. It would be the most attractive competition in the world. There is a power called UEFA that does not want to stop being the one who organizes the main competition. The clubs want to govern the competition because we are the ones who have obligations and UEFA takes away 25%. English clubs have left the project under political pressure, but they were the driving force behind it and continue to believe in it.”

On the funding from CVC :

“We do not agree with the funding proposed by CVC, because we think it is a proposal that is not viable and mortgages TV rights for many years. There is an alternative proposal where this does not happen. We trust the other clubs to apply good judgment.”  

On Ansu’s possible return against Bayern :

“This has to be decided by the doctors but they have told me that it is difficult. He wanted to play but we have to protect him so that the injury does not relapse again because later it takes longer to heal.”