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Barcelona president talks Messi, Ronaldinho, Cruyff, Maradona, and Camp Nou

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Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

Joan Laporta rolled back the years when he talked about Camp Nou and its legacy in a recent media interaction.

A lifelong Barça fan, Laporta expressed what Camp Nou truly means to him, stating (h/t Diario SPORT), “Camp Nou is my life. I’ve been coming here since I was four years old. I used to go with my grandfather to the upper stand and had to sit on the stairs because when you were little, they would sneak you in and you sat where you could.”

The Barcelona president went on to talk about the stadium’s legacy, adding, “Barcelona fans have been privileged. We’ve seen Cruyff, Maradona, Schuster, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Romario, Stoichkov.”

Laporta said Lionel Messi has been the best product, even comparing the Argentine with some of the prominent Barça figures. “The best has been Messi, for me a mixture of Cruyff and Maradona. When he emerged from La Masia, he was like the Messiah,” he said.

Laporta went for a nostalgic rampage, adding, “These are memories of a lifetime. Johan Cruyff’s time as a player is the one that has impacted me the most because he made us winners. That team – Sadurní, Rifé, Torres, Costas, De la Cruz, Juan Carlos, Rexach, Asensi, Cruyff, Sotil and Marcial.”

“We won La Liga 73-74, mythical for me. We won at Molinón with five games left. There a winning mentality began. I remember Johan’s crosses and Sotil’s goals. Sotil amazed me because he was a scorer. Cruyff’s crosses with the outside and Sotil’s goal,” he further added.

Laporta went on to talk about Johan Neeskens, who played for Barcelona between 1974 to 1979, featuring in 183 competitive matches. “Then Johan Neeskens arrived, who also caused a sensation and was much loved, with those white anklets and the penalties, which he shot very well and were a guarantee of a goal,” said Laporta, who also talked about another certain Dutchman in Johan Cruyff.

“I saw him [Johan Cruyff] in the Tribuna, I remember throwing pads, the first ones, which were hard and flew a lot. The kids took them and we were throwing them into the field. That was filled with pads,” he said.

“The culés were outraged. We were attacking all the time, Velázquez [of Real Madrid] went on a counterattack, Rifé [Barça player] made a foul ten meters from the area and the referee awarded a penalty [to Real Madrid],” he further added.

Laporta’s comments came against the backdrop of Barcelona playing their final match at Camp Nou against Mallorca tomorrow, before the stadium goes for renovation works, for the Espai Barça project.

Barcelona will play the 2023/24 stadium at the 55,000-capacity Olympic Montjuic Stadium.

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