Laporta's wide-ranging discussion at Luuk de Jong's Barcelona presentation
The Barca president discussed financial fair play matters, Sergi Roberto's renewal, Koeman and Dembélé, while calling on fans still disenchanted by Messi's departure to get behind the team.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta took advantage of new striker Luuk de Jong's presentation to announce the renewal of Sergi Roberto’s contract until 2024, with “only the signature is missing”, and to urge fans to get behind a team “more motivated than ever to win things”.
Regarding the financial fair play struggles that led Barcelona to being unable to re-register Lionel Messi, Laporta claimed the club will soon reach La Liga’s stipulated 70% wage bill-income ratio. “We are now at 80%,” he said.
Discussing new signing De Jong, who has arrived at Camp Nou from Sevilla on a one-season loan deal, the Barca executive said: “We have incorporated a skilled center forward. We are very happy. He can bring us many things footballing wise. We live on goals. Koeman asked us to sign him and we were able to close the deal at the last minute.”
Laporta's message to Barcelona fans
With many Barcelona fans still in a state of disenchantment following the shock departure of Messi, Laporta called on the Camp Nou faithful to get behind the team.
“I want to tell people that we compete to win. This team is built to win. We have a very good squad, although it is true that we can improve,” he said.
“The message [to the fans] is that we have started a new stage, with players with great talent and who know what they are playing for. I see that they are very motivated, but above all they need the support of the fans.”
“If the fans are discouraged, we will cheer them on,” he added. “I believe they are hopeful. They knew that we had to make traumatic decisions so as to not endanger the club. I insist that I have seen the players more motivated than ever.”
Laporta on Sergi Roberto, Mbappé, FFP, Koeman, Dembélé
Sergi Roberto: “His renewal is progressing very well. In fact, everything is already agreed. Only the signature is missing. It is done. It is now a documentation issue. What happened to Sergi Roberto and the rest of the captains (who agreed to take a salary cut) is an unprecedented gesture of generosity. For me they are already the heroes of Barcelona.”
Mbappé to Real Madrid: “What the other clubs do, I respect. It is their matter. It is none of our business. I have nothing to say".
Financial fair play: “I’m very satisfied, especially considering the difficult conditions we had … a lot of work has been done on outgoing transfers, on ‘fair play’, which is already at 80% (wage bill-income ratio). When we took over the club it was at 110%. The objective is to achieve 70% and that could facilitate our movements in the next transfer window. For me it has been the most difficult transfer market I have ever experienced.”
Koeman: “We each have our own way of relating to the coach. Mine is very direct. If at some point I have overstepped the mark, it’s because I like to talk about football and if I am asked, I will not keep silent. I will try to correct myself in some aspects, but without giving up my way of seeing football. I totally respect the coach. I am comfortable with Koeman and I hope he is with me as well. Every day we get to know each other better and for sure everything will go well. The coach has all the power in sporting matters. He has all of our trust, support and help. In difficult moments, he will have us by his side.”
Dembélé: “We will soon organize a meeting with his agent. He feels loved at the club and he knows we want him to continue. He has changed the number, he likes 7. He has told me that he really wants to play again. We are going to try to ensure that he plays often, that he can make the most of all his talent and that the mistakes of the past do not happen again.”
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