Barcelona president Joan Laporta gave a lengthy interview to Onze on Monday night where he discussed a wide range of topics.
The 58-year-old spoke about the club’s financial problems, Lionel Messi’s exit, admitted he’d wanted to sign Neymar and backed coach Ronald Koeman.
Here are the best bits:
Laporta on Neymar
Yes, we tried because at the time, in some conversations, it seemed interesting. Neymar was crazy to come back to Barca in March. He got in touch with us, he wanted to come yes or yes.
Laporta on Messi
We had reached an agreement, we even shook hands, Leo was going to sign for two seasons and get paid in five, but La Liga did not accept it. Then we raised the agreement for five years, the League saw it better, but on August 5 they told us that we had to sign the agreement with CVC to be able to comply with the economic fair-play. La Liga told us that either we signed the agreement with CVC or we could not comply with the fair-play rule, but we could not mortgage the television rights for fifty years.
It was not the goodbye that I had imagined for Leo and even less with me as president. We will always have an eternal gratitude to him, he will always be a Barcelona player.
Laporta on Koeman future
Koeman has all my support, my respect and all the confidence so that he can work as comfortably as possible. We have already spoken a couple of times with Rob Jansen, his agent, we are talking. I told the coach that he has to be strong, he cannot be in the weak position of ending the contract, so I raised the possibility of extending the contract.
Laporta on Griezmann
We all know what kind of player he is, I think that in our system he does not fit, but his attitude has always been very good, but surely he was not the player we needed.
Laporta on Griezmann contract
Griezmann must play 50% of the matches he can take part in for the purchase option of Atletico to become mandatory.
Laporta on Ansu Fati
We have never tried to transfer Ansu Fati. We try to preserve the players with presence and a very good future. I have heard that there was an offer of 100 million, it came out in the newspapers, but at no time have we received it. Ansu has been very brave, He has accepted the ‘10’, which no one wanted. He said he would accept it if the captains allowed it.
Laporta on Alex Collado
When everything was done [with Brugge], at the last hour they wanted a mandatory purchase option and the player himself said ‘no’. We are trying to register him, but it will be very difficult. He has a lot of magic. He has something different. He is one of those players that the Barça fans like.
Laporta on Super League
The Super League? The project is alive. UEFA cannot act against us. We will see what the courts say. All the pressure put on the English clubs is useless if the courts accept the project.If the Super League goes ahead, it will be the most attractive competition in the world and it will help a lot financially