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FC Barcelona Joan Laporta has spoken at length on the 'Onze' programme on Catalan station TV3, where he discussed an broad range of topics related in ongoings at the club.
Here are some of the standout comments from his appearance:
“He has all our respect and support to work as he feels most comfortable, so we can go back to enjoying ourselves at Barça … We have full confidence that things will work out well and no terms have been set out. We have to explore the possibility of extending his contract.”
“Barça is getting better and the numbers show that. We have heroes at the club like Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and we’re about to sort something out with Sergi Roberto. I thank them and their agents for what they have done. It is so admirable and I don’t think it something anyone would have done. It shows how committed they are to the club, the members and the fans."
“We appreciate what everyone has done to bring down the payroll from 110% to 80%. It has been a major reduction and wasn’t easy. I thank the football department, led by Mateu Alemany, and our CEO, Ferran Reverter, because they have made a huge effort in such a difficult situation.”
Ansu Fati's return
"He’s been brave. He took on the number 10 shirt when no one else wanted it. His only condition was that the captains agreed".
"Ansu Fati was never made available for transfer. I heard that an English club offered a hundred million [euro] for him, but we want him with us".
Messi's contract negotiations
"Everything was agreed with Messi, we even shook hands on it. Initially we tried to spread payments for the first two seasons over five years, but LaLiga rejected it. Then we changed the terms to five years, which seemed to be fine, but on 5 August we were informed that we had to sign the contract with CVC for that operation to go through".
"It was very distressing, as we didn’t want this outcome at all. I saw his début [for PSG] and it felt strange seeing him in another shirt. I don’t like thinking about not having him with us this season, nor that he is a rival and potential opponent. But Leo Messi will always be Barça".
"Maybe we all expected more from him, but he gave us everything. I sent him a message wishing him all the best. His attitude was always without reproach. He played a key role in winning the cup last season. Things could have probably gone better, but the situation was very tough. He is a great player, but I don’t think he fitted our system".
The arrival of Luuk de Jong
“Luuk de Jong is a different kind of striker. In the Dream Team we had Julio Salinas. Talking today, in fact, with Jordi Cruyff, we were saying that Johan had options that did not fit in with his philosophy. Luuk is a goalscorer who is great in the air and I think it could work out well. I am excited.”
“He is a great lad and he has a special talent, like Riqui Puig. We wanted to loan him out to Club Brugge because it seemed it was not the right moment for him and he left the training camp in Germany. However, at the last minute they wanted to include a compulsory permanent transfer that the player did not accept because he wants to be a success at Barça. Now, it’s tricky to make room for him in the first team, we want him and we appreciate him a lot and his own personal story is moving. An option would be to loan him out to a club where the window is still open, such as Russia or Turkey but keeping him in Barça’s orbit.”
“There are mistakes, irregularities, situations presumably criminal. At the Club we are conducting an internal investigation to see if it is necessary to assign responsibility. We are acting with complete transparency and the matter is ongoing.”
“This season we have had to take decisions influenced too much by the economic situation.”
The Super League
“It’s a subject which is still alive. We defend the Super League due to the clubs’ interests but the situation is difficult. In the courts we have won everything. UEFA cannot do anything to stop the Super League moving forward. All the pressure put on the English clubs at the time is now invalid. In fact, there are club who say to us that we should keep going because it suits them.”
“Less state-clubs suits everyone. The competition format will be very attractive, the most attractive league in the world. We have to improve the merit based aspect and we are working on that. The Super League, in itself, is a body that is working and active.”
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