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Presidential candidate Laporta talks Messi, Piqué, the temporary board and Xavi

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Photo by LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images

Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta collected the most votes during the first phase of the elections. The favourite to win went live on El Larguero to give the fans a small taste of his ideas.

The former Blaugrana president tackled many subjects, including a talk he had with Lionel Messi, Xavi coaching Barça one day, Ousmane Dembélé, Antoine Griezmann and the temporary board making signings. The interviewer looked as if they wanted to get a lot of spicy information, and indeed they got some big statements from the Spaniard.

Messi’s heart might be set on staying

On Messi wanting to stay: “If Messi says no, Barcelona continues. But it’s something I don’t contemplate. He wants to stay.”

On the Barça captain’s support towards Laporta’s sporting project: “Messi has told me that everything I have told him has been fulfilled. That credibility helps me. I will make him a proposal that I can fulfil. You can’t fool him constantly as they did in the past few seasons”

On keeping Messi in his first term as president: “I don’t remember Madrid ever making an offer for Messi during my term. The team that wanted him the most was Inter Milan. And I can tell you, most presidents would have taken it. However, I stood still and didn’t accept it.”

Laporta on coaching

On Laporta not wanting to interfere with the coach’s job: “Of course I prioritize that the style of football is the same in the youth categories as in the first team. However, I don’t like to be a coach. I talked a lot with Rijkaard and Cruyff, which showed me that I don’t know as much as them about tactics.”

On Laporta not wanting to make any speculations at this stage of the elections: “We have our own sports project. I don’t care about others. I understand that one day Xavi will coach Barca. I don’t know if it will be possible in the short, medium or long term. But in my project, I haven’t said names because I don’t think that suits me now.”

On Pep Guardiola’s illustrious return: “Pep Guardiola is more than anything, my friend. If he’s happy to manage at Manchester City, then so be it.”

Laporta on certain players

On Antoine Griezmann’s revival at Camp Nou: “Griezmann is a Barca player, you have to help him. He’s a really smart player, and he is adapting to a new role. He is playing like he did at Real Sociedad.”

On Ousmane Dembélé’s sensational return from injury: “I’m glad Dembélé recovered well. He is the only player who can keep the opposition pressured for the whole game apart from Messi.”

On Piqué’s return from injury: “The best ‘signing’ for a center back is the return of Piqué.”

Laporta on his project

On the team’s successes with him as president: “People think I’m always partying. If anything I was celebrating that the team couldn’t stop winning during my term.”

On comparing between his project and Victor Font’s: “Barcelona would be in much better hands if I won.”

Laporta on a possible postpone of elections

On the Catalan government interfering with the election date: “The Government of Catalonia has no power to make decisions regarding the Barcelona elections.”

On the temporary board wanting to make signings: “The temporary board should not have the right to make any signings.”

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