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Joan Laporta: If the big clubs always played each other, we’d all get tired

Barcelona president Joan Laporta is now against the proposed European Super League but believes an ‘improved’ Champions League could be the way forward

Roddy Cons
Update:
Barcelona president Joan Laporta is now against the proposed European Super League but believes an ‘improved’ Champions League could be the way forward
Joan M. BascuDiarioAS

Barcelona were one of three clubs – along with Real Madrid and Juventus – who were keen to push ahead with creating a European Super League even after the withdrawal of English Premier League clubs, the Milan clubs and Atlético Madrid. However, the Catalans’ stance towards the competition now appears to have changed after Joan Laporta’s return to the club as president.

Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez: Football is sick

This comes as a blow to Florentino Pérez, one of the principal drivers of the Super League, who only last week emphasised the need for reform in European football, warning that football in its current state was ‘sick’. The Real Madrid president, speaking at the club’s AGM, is firmly of the idea that elite teams need to play each other more often:

“European competitions must change, to offer fans top-level games year-round between the strongest teams, with the best players competing. In tennis, Nadal and Federer have played 40 times in 15 years. Nadal and Djokovic have played 59 matches in 16 years. In football, we’ve only played Liverpool nine times in 67 years. We’ve played Chelsea four times in the history of the European Cup. What sense does it make to deprive fans of all these games?”

However, Barça chief Laporta, speaking to Sonora, has revealed that he doesn’t share his counterpart’s views.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta: It’s healthy when a smaller clubs beats a big one

“If the big teams were to play each other all the time, we’d all get tired of it. It’s special and healthy for the game when a smaller club beats a big one. And it’s fun to get behind an underdog. It was great when Greece won the Euros and it was really special when Leicester won the league in England. That’s what football is all about.”

Laporta re-joined Barça in March 2021, just a month before Super League proposals were made public, and claimed that there were elements of the original format that he wasn’t in agreement with, even at the time.

“I became Barcelona’s representative in the Super League discussions quite late in the day, things were already quite advanced. My criteria was not to have a closed Super League but instead an open one, there had to be meritocracy.”

Leicester City: European Super League no-hopers.
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Leicester City: European Super League no-hopers. Michael ReganDiarioAS

Laporta: The Super League needs to be an improved Champions League

The Super League would have to work alongside domestic leagues. That’s vitally important. I really believe in domestic leagues and, in my opinion, it would be a mistake for a Super League to replace them.”

The Barcelona president does believe that change is needed but talked of making tweaks to the Champions League in order to make it better.

A Super League should be an improved Champions League, which would have a great format and would undoubtedly be the world’s most attractive competition. But at the same time, we have to make sure we keep domestic leagues going, that’s absolutely vital.”

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