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Laporta talks Messi, Xavi, MLS, Mbappe to Real Madrid rumours



Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking in an interview with ESPN Deportes, Barcelona president Joan Laporta has stated that the club did everything in their power to re-sign Lionel Messi, but the player ultimately decided to move to Inter Miami this summer.

With Messi’s contract with PSG expiring earlier this summer, Barcelona were among the contenders to sign him on a free transfer.

Talks took place between the two parties and a transfer was believed to be close, but delays due to the Financial Fair Play situation and concerns about registration ultimately led to him choosing the MLS.

Barcelona did ‘everything’ to re-sign Messi

“We did everything we could. It was very close. We had to manage our financial fair play situation so we needed time. At the end, we reached an agreement with La Liga that authorised us to add him to the squad,” Laporta said.

“He decided to go to Inter Miami, we respect him. Because of the circumstances, he told us it was the best thing for him and also he can bring a lot to Inter Miami and to football in the United States.”

“We are happy if Messi is happy (…) With the arrival of Messi, Busquets, Alba, Luis Suarez and perhaps Andres Iniesta, he will have a team of enormous quality and who have achieved everything in world football,” he added.

When asked if there is a chance for Messi to return to Barça in the future, Laporta said: “Barça will always be his home and that is something that we will see when the time comes. It depends on a lot of things, on whether he wants to and if the circumstances are right.

‘But Messi already knows that Barça will always be his home. That has always been the case with the great players that the club has had throughout its history.”

Laporta not worried about Mbappe joining Real Madrid

Mbappe could join Barça’s rivals Real Madrid (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Following Messi’s departure, his former PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe could also be on the move this summer, with Real Madrid touted to be the most likely destination.

Bizarrely, Barcelona were also linked with a move for him earlier this week, but those speculations did not take long to fade away. But, all signs point towards him joining Real Madrid either this summer or the next.

And when asked if that worries him, Barça president Laporta said: “No.”

“On paper, he is an extraordinary player, who makes a difference. Having him in front of you complicates a game, but I have confidence in my team. For me, the players Barça have are the best.”

Laporta then went on to stress that Barcelona will have a better squad than last year and that as a team they are stronger than their rivals.

“A team is made up of eleven players and the priority must always be the team rather than individuals. I would be worried if the team in front of me were stronger as a team than mine. We have a better team than last year and we’re going to have an even better team.”

Laporta on Xavi, Rafa Marquez, and the MLS

Laporta happy with Xavi (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The Barcelona president also spoke about first-team manager Xavi Hernandez during the same interview, and said: “We have a very good coach who is working hard so that Barcelona can become champions again.”

Laporta also had some words of praise for Barça Atletic boss Rafa Marquez. The club supremo said that he was happy that the former Mexican international was in charge of the subsidiary team.

“He leads with an iron hand and silk gloves, very similar to how he was when he was a player. He is serene, calm and makes decisions,” Laporta said.

“He is a man who has had a very good season with Barça Atletic. Rafa, as a person is extraordinary and I am very happy that he is the coach of the second team.”

When asked if Marquez can go on to become the first-team manager in the future, Laporta replied: “We’ll see about that.”

Also touching upon the development of the MLS and football in the USA, Laporta said: “Football in the United States has been improving for a long time now. They are going to have the World Cup, which is very important; I’m sure this is going to turn around and quality football is going to be on display in the United States.”

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