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Laporta: “I have not spoken with Messi again”

Joan Laporta at the Camp Nou / David S. Bustamante / Soccrates / Getty Images

Today FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta opened up regarding some pressing topics in an interview with Esport 3. During which he talked about Messi’s farewell, Griezmann’s exit, Ronald Koeman, the club’s finances, the current squad and much more

The beginning of his second term as the President of FC Barcelona has probably been the most difficult one in recent history. However, Joan Laporta has been able to rectify key aspects that the previous board neglected. Now as the new season gets underway, Laporta spoke in Esport 3 to present the current situation of the club.

This is what he had to say:

On why Messi could not be renewed

“We had a lot of pressure on us: either we signed the CVC (mortgaging the club for 50 years) or wouldn’t have had Fair Play. We had our hands tied. We already had a preliminary agreement for a long time. But LaLiga did not accept it. Not even the five-year contract. LaLiga seemed more open to it, but on August 5 they told us that we had to sign the CVC. We did not believe that the situation would improved and it ended the situation.”

On his relationship with the Argentine

“I think we were both displeased because the situation was not what we wanted. I have not spoken with Messi again. This was not the ending we wanted for Messi at Barça. We’ll see. We will not close ourselves to anything. We will always be grateful with Messi. He is from Barça.”

Regarding the wage bill

“The reduction is important, we have gone from a wage bill of 110 to 80 percent. I want to congratulate Mateu Alemany and his team, because they have made an amazing effort. And we also have some heroes who are Piqué, Alba, Busquets and soon Sergi Roberto. What they have done is admirable. They are committed to the club, to the members. It is amazing. And we will continue with other players, such as Umtiti and others from the first team. We are in a process that is not easy. First the captains have set an example, and now we will continue with others.”

“Without Griezmann and with the reduction of the captains, Messi could not have stayed either. But it is important to have lowered the wage bill because next year we can be more ambitious.”

On Ronald Koeman

“I like Koeman. We won the match against Getafe, those are not easy games. It cost us more than other matches, their approach confused us. But he has merit, with the injuries he has had … I spoke with Koeman, but I trust and respect him, like all coaches. Johan’s model is non-negotiable, and Koeman’s cruyffism is undeniable, but each one adapts it in their own way.”

Regarding his renewal

“We have not set a date to close it. The message is that the coach must be strong, and must renew with some clauses that we all like. This gives the coach strength and confidence.”

Griezmann’s departure

“Yes, perhaps we all expected a little more from him, but he has always had a great attitude. However, I don’t think he fits into our system. I don’t think he was the signing we needed at the time.”

“For Atlético’s purchase clause to be executed, Griezmann must play 50% of the matches in which he is available.”

ESL

“The project is alive. In the courts we have won everything. UEFA cannot prevent it. And, furthermore, the pressure on English clubs, who are the ones who have promoted it, have been without effect.”

Regarding Tebas

“Florentino and he are very at odds. He (Tebas) does the job he think best for most clubs. But we understand that what Barça and Real Madrid contribute should be taken into consideration. I recognize that he is a defender of fair play, and is on a crusade against PSG, who have skipped all of them. He is a good professional, and has had national and international recognition. He has become obsessed with the ESL.”

On Neymar

“We tried to sign Neymar. Because at the time it seemed interesting to sign him. He got in touch. He wanted to come. We interpreted fair play in a different way, if we had known, we would not have made the offer.”

Regarding Ansu Fati

“We have not put Ansu Fati up for sale. We were told that there was an offer of 100 million from an English club, but we neither received it nor put him up for sale. Ansu has been very brave, he has accepted the ’10’, which no one wanted. He said he accepted it only if the captains allowed it.”

Álex Collado and his situation

“He is an extraordinary boy with magic and talent, like Riqui. We tried to loan him to out to Club Brugge, because we understand that it’s not his moment, and when it was going to be done, Brugge wanted a mandatory buy option, and he said no because he wants to succeed at Barça. Now we are trying for him to have a spot in the first team or with Barça B and move him up. We don’t want him to just train. The Russian and Turkish markets are still open.”

On the previous board

“There are errors, there are irregularities, there are allegedly criminal situations, alleged corruption. What we are doing is internal investigations to see if responsibilities need to be clarified.”

This was the end of his interview

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