Messi renewal: Barcelona president Laporta offers update
Joan Laporta remains confident that Lionel Messi will sign a new deal and claims the captain has shown a desire to say at Barcelona.
Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia has published an interview with Barcelona president Joan Laporta this Sunday, in which he offered the latest on the situation regarding Lionel Messi, whose contract is set to expire on 30 June.
"I would like Messi to tell us ‘yes’ as soon as possible. He would help us in every way," said Laporta. He remains confident that the 33-year-old star will continue at Barcelona, particularly now that the club has signed Sergio Aguero, who is also playing his part in convincing his Argentina team mate to stay while the pair are at camp together during the Copa América. "Aguero is helping. He is telling him every day to stay,” admitted Laporta, adding that the club was “in communication with [Messi] every other day.”
The Barcelona president was also appreciative of Messi’s attitude during talks, claiming that the captain wants to stay at the club. “He is excited and I am grateful to him for the desire he is showing to stay,” he told La Vanguardia.
Laporta says Barcelona will make more signings
In the interview, Laporta also touched on several other issues, revealing Barcelona would look to make “three of four more signings” this summer (the interview was conducted before the signing of Memphis Depay was made official on Saturday), admitting that the club’s financial situation is “worse than what I had expected” when he took over in March and that legal action against the club’s disgraced former president Josep Bartomeu was not being ruled out.
One issue of the Super League, Laporta has maintained the position of his predecessor Bartomeu and made his position clear. "If we want football to be more attractive and sustainable, we must bet this way,” said Barça’s top executive, echoing the comments of his Real Madrid counterpart, Florentino Pérez. Laporta revealed that, between salaries and debt repayments, Barça currently has outgoings totaling €650 million a year, with overall debt amounting to €1.2 billion.
Laporta on new Barcelona appointments
Laporta also spoke about the recent incorporation of former Dutch player Jordi Cruyff, son of club legend Johan Cryuff, as sporting adviser. "Jordi has come to be Jordi and not Johan's son,” he insisted. “He is a friend of Ronald [Koeman] and speaks the same language.”
Regarding questions surrounding his decision to appoint his sister Maite as the new head of the club’s Inclusion and Diversity Department, Laporta insisted she was the right person for the job: "My sister is more than qualified to work at Barça. I want reliable and courageous people.”
The Barcelona president also discussed academy graduate Riqui Puig, whom he sees having a long future at the club despite the lack of game time he’s had under Koeman. "For me, he is a player of extraordinary quality, strategic for the club because of his way of playing and his understanding of the game and the philosophy of the club (...) Let him be part of the group to earn his place,” said Laporta in a clear message to Koeman, who was also, at one point, the subject of thinly-veiled criticism: “I saw we had the league won and we lost it.”