In a long interview with the American press, Joan Laporta talked about all the hot issues of Barcelona this summer.
One thing is certain, FC Barcelona wants to return to the forefront of the European scene. With the signatures of Andreas Christensen, Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski, Franck Kessié and recently Jules Koundé, the Catalan club has made an XXL mercato. The Catalan president, who announced that he hoped for new recruits, spoke at length to CBS Sport, during the club’s tour of the United States and directly attacked Lionel Messi.
“I did what I had to do for the institution to go before the best player in our history. I have known Messi since he was a child and I love Leo. I feel a moral debt to Messi. He is the best player in our history and I will do my best so that he can have the best end of his career with a Barça shirt. I would like to bring him back. It will not be easy, but I think that with the right strategy we can do it,” he assured. If I have spoken to him? All I can say is that I will do my best, that’s all. We have a strategy to get him back to Barcelona. This is not the best time to talk about it, because he is a PSG player and he has one more year left on his contract and we have to respect that.”
“We can not force De Jong to lower his salary”
Before mentioning the case of the other superstar: Cristiano Ronaldo, who had been announced for a time in Barcelona. “There are always many rumors. But in the end, the truth is that we wanted Lewandowski. We have a very good relationship with Jorge Mendes. I have known him for a long time. He is one of the best player agents. He knows how to do his job and I respect him. That’s the reality. The other subject (Ronaldo) is just part of the “small story” of soccer. We got Lewandowski. He was our main target and I prefer not to comment further. His future does not concern me. It’s Manchester United’s and Cristiano’s business,” the Barcelona president clarified.
Another hot issue for Barcelona is the case of Frenkie De Jong. While the Dutchman was announced on the departure because of his too big salary, Laporta assured that he would stay at Barça this summer if he wanted. “(Frenkie De Jong) will continue. He has a contract. We will respect that decision. For us, he is a Barcelona player. We count on him (…) Frenkie has a contract and we respect it. We can not force him to accept a salary cut. It is his decision. If I can assure that he will not go to Manchester United? In soccer, you never know. I can’t say that categorically. It depends on the different parties. But in principle, I can say that there is a strong possibility that he will stay and I will do my best to keep him at Barcelona.”
Without tongue in cheek, the Barça president went over all the rumors about the Catalan mercato and assured that nothing is finished until the end of the summer. “We have made progress with new recruits like Lewandowski, Christensen, Kessie, Kounde and Raphinha and there are probably more to come,” warned the Barcelona president. Blaugrana fans can still dream.