Barcelona president Joan Laporta spoke to the press on Friday to confirm and explain the departure of Lionel Messi, and he was asked about whether or not he had already spoken with the rest of the squad and manager Ronald Koeman.
Laporta revealed his conversation with current captains Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto and made it clear he still expects great things from the squad without Messi, and is looking forward to Koeman and the players leading Barça in a “new chapter” of the club’s history.
“I spoke with the captains via the phone [on Thursday]. This is a very important moment in Barça’s history. I told the players that a new chapter in the history of Barça starts and that we have to keep winning without players of Messi’s talent. Maximum commitment and professionalism. We want to make fair decisions and this was an important moment. I looked the players in their faces and asked the maximum from the captains.
“There is a very strong squad and the captains must lead this new chapter, embracing the young players that are showing great talent. We have gone through many things and now they have a historic opportunity, they have the spotlight and our full support on the road to success.
“The squad is certainly sad, but they are professionals and have the opportunity to showcase their talent to lead us to success. They understand that a new era has started and they want to show they are great professionals realizing a dream. I think that the club, from the president to the sporting directors, will bring a lot of professionalism and demand a lot of application. We will give everything to have success. We will always make decisions to benefit FC Barcelona.
“I’ve spoken to Ronald Koeman. He is a man of the club, a great professional. He has the ability to adapt quickly to circumstances. It won’t be easy to replace a player that gives you more than 30 goals a season, but I see him very motivated to make this a splendorous new era.”
Source: Mundo Deportivo