Barcelona president Joan Laporta has addressed a number of crucial issues, including bribery charges, Lionel Messi’s goodbye, and the future of Camp Nou.
Laporta spoke candidly about the charges against him in an interview with Catalunya Radio, implying a secret motive was at work, driven by what he dubbed ‘Madridismo’ in power centres.
Beyond addressing the Negreira case, Laporta delved into matters close to the hearts of Barcelona fans. Sporting director Deco confirmed plans for Messi to have a farewell match, possibly at the newly sponsored Spotify Camp Nou. Laporta reiterated the club’s attempt to re-sign Messi at the start of the season, saying, “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 also revealed the club’s intention to pay Messi a substantial tribute, ideally during the Camp Nou’s grand reopening. Speaking of the new Camp Nou, he shared a tentative timeline, saying, “If nothing happens, the Camp Nou will be finished in 2026. If everything goes well, we will be back in November 2024, an important date.”
In addition, Laporta expressed his hopes for Camp Nou to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup final but acknowledged that the authorities might favour the Santiago Bernabeu. He said, “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. 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.”
Laporta praised the synergy between sporting director Deco and head coach Xavi Hernandez, stating, “Deco has a very good understanding with Xavi. I am delighted with Xavi; he is leading the team in an extraordinary way.” He outlined the season’s objectives, saying, “Our objectives are to win the league and try to win the Champions League.”
Deco’s desire to keep Joao Cancelo and Joao Felix at Barcelona was met with Laporta’s affirmation. He said, “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.”
Speaking of the overall quality of the Barcelona squad, Laporta noted, “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…?”
Barcelona’s economic vice-president Eduard Romeu also provided insight into the club’s finances and budget for the 2023/24 season. Laporta praised the club’s performance, 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.”
Joan Laporta’s interview revealed not only the challenges facing the club but also the grand vision for Barcelona’s future, both on and off the field.