Llopis resigns and slams Laporta: "There was no effort to ensure Messi stayed"
Jaume Llopis was highly critical of how Barcelona handled Messi's exit, "While Barça cried, the president went for a fish supper with Florentino".
Jaume Llopis, a former member of the Espai Barça commission who resigned following the whole Messi debacle, launched a scathing attack on the board on Cadena SER's Qué T’hi Jugues programme. Llopis is Professor Emeritus at the IESE Business School and also held the position of General Director at Nestlé, CEO at Grupo Borges, president of Moulinex and Unión y el Fénix.
Llopis explained, “I didn't want to cause such a commotion, I resigned to have the freedom to be able to say what many Barcelona fans think and demand transparency, which is something that has been lacking. Leo even said so himself: 'They didn't do everything that could have been done'. I have been a club member for 66 years”.
Laporta and Florentino meet for lunch
Llopis' main criticism of Messi's departure was that, “The whys and wherefores of the operation were poorly handled. You could detect the frostiness between the player and the president. We were not told the truth, we would like to know what is going on between Florentino Pérez and Laporta. The Super League is an interesting project but there is a little of uncertainty about it. I don't know what he is trying to do with all of this chumminess with Real Madrid's president. Nobody can understand that while barcelonistas are crying about Leo leaving, Laporta is enjoying a fish supper with Real Madrid's president. That doesn't paint a very good image”
Llopis added that he is pessimistic about the future for Barça: “In the short term we have the difficulty of generating income and we have just lost our greatest asset in exchange for reducing Messi's wages, but before that, there were too many others on the payroll. There isn't anyone at the club who can manage a crisis; [Ferran] Reverter is a great CEO but he has no experience in these situations and he doesn't know how Barça functions and you need to be able to read and understand the mood and feelings of the people. Kicking Messi out is a simple cost-cutting exercise when nothing has been done to cut back in other areas such as with Umtiti, Coutinho or the sacred cows. Letting Matheus go was easy enough, but rescinding the contracts of one of the sacred cows would have been a clear message to everyone, because as things stand, if there are no more wage cuts I don't think Memphis will be able to play on Sunday because he still hasn't been registered”.
The motive which sealed Messi's departure, according to Llopis, “was a decision made by executives who don't really know Barça - it is not your average multinational company. No efforts were made to ensure the player stayed".
Llopis' resignation has caused friction within the board, as he told La SER: “Laporta hasn't responded - but his brother has in the way of a very rude voice mail message which I deleted”.
Camp Nou repair work
He ended by highlighting infrastructure issues with the stadium that needed to be addressed: “Camp Nou was in such a critical state that even if we had been allowed to let the fans back in last season, we would not have been able to fill the ground for the risk of accidents. Chunks of concrete came loose and it was dangerous. There are technical reports, and repairs are bring made so hopefully it will be safer".