Barcelona Featured Interviews

Joan Laporta: I hoped at the last minute, Messi would offer to play for free.

Mundo Deportivo / Manel Montilla

Barcelona president, Joan Laporta spoke to Rac1 on Friday. Following, Ferran Reverter’s presentation of the due diligence by the previous board. Joan Laporta talked about: Messi, Koeman, Espai Barca, and a lot more.

Here’s what Laporta had to say:

Results of the audit:

“As Reverter said, the previous management was based on improvisation. Making signings without being able to pay for them. We have started an investigation and when we have the results we will decide which way to follow. I think that before the end of the year we should have the information. Everything is open, but only with the results, we will decide if taking action is needed. I was expecting a bad situation, but the truth is, it is a lot worse than what we first anticipated.”

Payments to intermediaries:

“We are concerned about payments to intermediaries. Especially projects like Espai Barca. Some amounts are too high. I have not spoken with Bartomeu for a long time. In fact, I haven’t spoken to anyone from the previous board for a long time. Even Sandro, the last we spoke was during the elections.”

Barca’s plan:

“We have a wise CEO, Barca is in good hands. We had made a five-year plan to recover but we hope to achieve it sooner.”


“With Messi, we were not following the fair play regulations of La Liga. If Messi renewed, the investment which was made would put Barca at risk. The institution always comes first. Barca is bigger than Messi and any president.”

“I did not get angry with Messi but there comes a time when both parties realize that it can not happen, there is disappointment on both sides. I know that Messi had a desire to stay but they (Messi’s representatives) had a lot of pressure because of the other offers there were. I think they knew if Messi could not continue; PSG was there. Although I did hope at the last minute, Messi would want to play for free. But we cannot ask someone like Messi to play for free.”

Attempting to sign Neymar:

“At that time, the audit was not completed. There was no data. We understood that we had a margin, and we made an attempt for Neymar. They told us that he wanted to leave, that he would not continue. He did not leave and it did not disappoint me. Not signing him has been very good for us. It would not have solved the situation we are in.”

Espai Barca:

“I believe that when we present the new stadium project, people will realize the impact it will have for the city and the club. If the assembly gives us the authorization for the project, it could start as early as next year. The best option would be to play at the Estadi Johan Cruyff for a year. Only for one year. We thought about expanding it, with a capacity of 50,000 people. This project can have as much impact as the Olympics.”

“Another option is Montjuic, but I prefer Johan”

Espai Barca financing:

“We are talking about numbers between 800 and 900 million euros. Although, if we add the Palau and the campus this could rise to 1.5 billion euros.”


“CVC was a candy that Tebas gave us. We were told if we agreed to the deal, Messi could stay, but there was never a document to prove it. Barca cannot agree to an operation if there is no evidence. It was a good idea for some clubs but Barca do not need more debt. Other La Liga clubs are suffering too. They are trying to reformulate this operation and it is still possible.”


“All the Catalans, Koeman himself, was discouraged. As the president, you need to think about the best solution and I have to value everything. After listening to the people I trust, we concluded that I have to act as I did with Rijkaard. Koeman deserves trust. Firstly, he is a cule who loves Barca. He is also a legend of the club. I needed to know if he trusted this team and he told me, he does. He added, he needs the injured players back. I saw a man who wanted to continue.”


“I talk to him very often because we are friends, just like Pep. We are proud to have Koeman as the coach, and we have to focus on that now. So the sporting situation changes, which is not the best. Although we have just started and we hope to improve. At no time did I say Koeman was not going to continue. He deserves a margin of confidence.”

Gavi, Pedri and, Ansu renewals:

“We are in the process to renew them. Next week, you will have some good news. Pedri’s is very well advanced and hopefully, it can be announced next week. Ansu’s is also doing well.”

Sporting Director:

“The director of football is Mateu Alemany and we are very happy with him. In his team, there is Planes and Jordi and a series of scouts. Such as Deco, who works in the Brazillian market. Jordi Cruyff has played a very important role in giving Koeman a margin of confidence.”

Sergi Roberto:

“We are in the process of renewing his contract. The salary has been reduced. We are restructuring his contract, and just need to tie up a few loose ends.”