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Laporta talks Messi, Deco, Xavi, Joao Felix, Cancelo, Pedri, Lewandowski, Barcelona finances

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona president Joan Laporta spoke to Catalunya Radio in an interview today to clarify his position after being charged with bribery in the Negreira case by investigating judge Joaquin Aguirre.

Laporta lashed out at the allegations claiming that there was a hidden agenda behind the entire episode, driven by ‘Madridismo’ in the power centres.

Apart from discussing the Negreira case, the Barcelona president also spoke in detail about the club, the finances, and the squad, along with several other matters.

On Messi and Camp Nou

Barcelona’s sporting director Deco confirmed in an interview recently that plans were already underway for Lionel Messi to get a farewell match with Barcelona, possibly at the new Spotify Camp Nou.

Elaborating on that matter, Laporta once again stated that Barça tried to sign Messi last summer but it did not materialise.

“We proposed to Messi to come back at the beginning of this season. He made a decision and we understand and respect it. In Miami, he thinks he will be under less pressure,” Laporta stated.

“What we do have in mind is to find a moment to pay him a big tribute. It would be great if it was for the opening of the Camp Nou.”

While on the matter, he also provided the tentative timeline for the completion of the new Camp Nou, saying:

If nothing happens, the Camp Nou will be finished in 2026. If everything goes well, we will be back in November 2024, it will also be an important date.”

Laporta also insisted that he hopes that Camp Nou can host the 2030 FIFA World Cup final, but admitted that authorities might lean towards the Santiago Bernabeu.

“We have already asked to host the 2030 World Cup and of course, we would like to host the final. I think we will host a semi-final,” he said.

“The final? I suppose the power centres will want it to be at the Bernabeu. We will ask for it because Camp Nou deserves it but I don’t know if we will make it. I would take a semi-final for sure.”

On Deco, Xavi, and the squad

Laporta happy with Xavi. (Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images)

Laporta entrusted Deco with the club’s sporting department this summer, with the former midfielder taking over as the sporting director at Barcelona.

And the club president highlighted the synergy between Deco and Xavi as a good thing for the Catalans, stating: “Deco has a very good understanding with Xavi. I am delighted with Xavi, he is leading the team in an extraordinary way.”

Outlining the objectives for the season, he added: “Our objectives are to win the league and try to win the Champions League.”

Deco is understood to be keen on prolonging the stays of both Joao Cancelo and Joao Felix at Barça, either by extending their loan deals or signing them permanently.

And Laporta gave his affirmation to the plan, saying: “If they keep playing like this, we will have to make an effort to sign Joaos, but it depends on what Deco says.”

“I want the best players to stay. I like Joao Félix a lot, I always have,” he added.

Highlighting the overall quality of the Barcelona squad, Laporta said: “There are very competitive players in the Barça squad. We have a team that is much more highly valued on the market than when we arrived.

“Who doesn’t like Pedri, Gavi, Balde, Lewandowski, Raphinha, Cancelo…?”

On the finances

On Wednesday, Barcelona’s Economic Vice-President Eduard Romeu outlined the club’s finances and budget for the 2023/24 season, while also confirming that the club finished the 2022/23 season with a greater profit than initially anticipated.

And Laporta further shed light on the thought process behind the current budget, saying: “At this time we presented a budget that consolidates us in the stability of the entity. We will present profits without the levers. We have already reduced debt, although it is not done overnight.

“The levers have allowed us to regain our leadership in the world of football and to make a profit.”

“In all areas, we have obtained better figures than budgeted. In commercial, €351 million. We have made record figures in sponsorship and merchandising. We are working well and we have the strength of the Barça crest.”

The Barcelona president also condemned the actions of former RFEF head Luis Rubiales, saying:

“We condemn Rubiales. Everyone expected him to resign and he changed his mind. I went out in the media and condemned all these chauvinistic and abusive attitudes.”

Source: SPORT

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