Joan Laporta has been talking all things Barcelona in an interview with the club’s TV channel to mark one year since he returned to the Camp Nou as president.
The 59-year-old spoke about Lionel Messi’s exit, Ronald Koeman’s tenure, new coach Xavi and a host of players including Gavi, Ronald Araujo and Adama Traore.
Here are the best bits:
Laporta on Messi’s exit
It was the saddest and most painful decision, and I would never have wanted to make it at all, but I’m not sorry. We had to put the institution above everyone else, even ahead of coaches and the best player in the world. And we had to do it. Because the situation we inherited is what it was. Those of us who love Barça know that history continues and with work and well-thought-out decisions, we can continue on the path of success.
Laporta on Ronald Koeman
At the end of the season I already had many doubts and I let the coach know, but Ronald wanted to continue. I gave him a chance out of respect for a legend, but there was a moment when we saw that things were not going well and I had to make a decision. I did it respecting people. Looking back, I would have taken it sooner. I should have listened to my intuition. I will always remember Ronald for his goal at Wembley and for being a coach who bet on young people.
Laporta on Xavi
I am convinced that Xavi is a coach for many years and who will give us many joys. Xavi responds with flying colors. He responds magnificently well because he is a coach who knows the club, who loves the club, who respects the club’s decisions. He has achieved a change with a brutal mentality, now the team creates chances and scores goals, plays with the system that has made us the reference in football, but there is still room for improvement to be able to compete at the highest level.
Laporta on Gavi and Araujo renewals
With these renewals, the player has a lot to say. That is why I am very grateful to those who have been renewing because they understand and value what Barça is. That is what I ask the players. If they want to stay at Barça, they will stay. In addition to the sporting journey, which will surely be very good, they know that they will be recognized and valued professionally with a good contract. I hope it is the same case with Gavi and Araujo as with Pedri, Ansu Fati and Nico. I hope we can reach a satisfactory agreement for both parties but I insist that the first thing is Barça.
Laporta on Barca’s January signings
The work has been very good with very well worked operations. We brought Ferran Torres, who made us win the game in Elche. Adama has returned home, with a splendid physique and is a player unlike any other. He has a lot of strength, he is very fast and he has adapted to the system because he knew it. Auba is a goalscorer. And having Alves in the squad is a joy. Dani creates a team, makes a dressing room. I would be happy to see him play at the World Cup.
Laporta on Adama Traore and Dani Alves
There is an option for them to stay, with Alves it is easier, with Adama we have to look at it a little more, because we have to be very rigorous on the economic issue.
Laporta on Erling Haaland
I can’t talk about players because then the price goes up. We’re going to reinforce. The important thing is that everyone wants to come to Barcelona.
Laporta on Spotify deal
Sponsors are very important, but we need more, I’m still not entirely satisfied in this aspect. It’s on the right track, but it’s not signed yet. We are optimistic. The assets that would come in are the team shirt, training shirt and the name of the ground. I like this sponsor for the music, but it is not yet closed.