Joan Laporta is the man with whom Barcelona have made great strides between 2003 and 2010. In 2020, he is running again for the presidency of the “blue garnet” and talks about the vision of a club hit by the crisis.
Joan Laporte is 58 years old. He became president of the club 17 years ago. There has been ten years since he left and five years since he last ran for the post, but lost. The first thing he said in his 2020 campaign: "The situation is difficult. There is no room for loud statements and any promises yet." Still, there is a hint of prank and enthusiasm in his eyes.
He spends most of his time in a small room above the headquarters of his company the Moritz brewery in Madrid. A giant banner with his face covers the facade of a 15-story building on the corner of Calle Santiago Bernabeu, right next to the stadium of their greatest rivals and the site of their greatest victory over Real Madrid in 2009 (6: 2).
In Catalonia, Laporte is loved for his audacity. For other candidates for the presidency of Barcelona, he is a worthy contender. However, Victor Font, who is also a candidate for the presidency, said that banners throughout the city will not help Joan in his work: "He is a master at these things, but banners will not help you win the Champions League, build a stadium or pay off debts." And yet, the reaction to these banners is overwhelming.
Barcelona is in crisis. Whoever wins this election - and eight people are trying to collect enough signatures to run, but Laporta and Font are the favorites - will inherit the players, the coaches and the mess. The club has a debt of 488 million euros. There is a stadium that needs to be built, a loan from Goldman Sachs (approx. One of the world's largest investment banks) must be returned. With the delay in paying salaries, the new problem will be passed on to the new president. In general, the team is in big trouble.
As for Laporta himself, it is clear that a person can benefit the club. Yes, it is difficult to imagine the activity for which Laporta was famous in 2003, and even more difficult to imagine that it is still possible to return to the Barcelona era that was at that time. There is neither Johan Cruyff, who would lead the team, nor Pep Guardiola. Yes, and Messi can leave. In short, is he crazy? Why go back?
"Yes, I'm crazy. This is the biggest challenge in my life: I know, I accept, and I'm ready to lead, fight. Barcelona is an expensive club for me. I've been going to their games since I was five, my dad and grandfather made me a member of the club. at the age of 10 and values have always been present in my life - not only football, but everything else that Barça represents is now more important than ever. We want people to love Barcelona again. Fate seems to want me participated in the most difficult moments in the life of the club. Understand, this is my destiny too. I do not feel obligations, only motivation. I still think that I have energy."
Joan assures that Messi is not thinking about leaving Barcelona, but is in a hurry to upset the fans - Guardiola will no longer be at the club.
"Messi is still in the team. Yes, in two weeks he will be able to negotiate with the clubs, but I do not believe that he will leave. He will definitely consider the proposal from the new president. If it is me, then I will agree. He trusts me and knows that I never lie. The past president forced him to deal with all the problems of the club, their relationship was strained. I assure that if I become president, I will agree with him. When the best player in the world has to watch other clubs win the Champions League Cup, then this very unpleasant".
"I communicate with Pep Guardiola. Did I try to convince him to come back? No. He is my friend and the best coach in the world, but in the City he is doing great."
Laporta is firmly convinced that by leaving Barcelona, he and his team have left the best legacy they could have left in 2010: a competitive team with a long way to go, a healthy economy and lack of sponsorship through sustainability. But in the club, everyone was constantly looking back, driven by anger, and destroyed the sports project, not having time to resume it in time.
Laporta does not intend to arrange a massive sale of players, but admits that cutting costs will help reconstruct debt. "It is profitable to buy and profitable to sell" - one of the slogans of the specialist.
One of the key issues is the development of young players. Laporte is very fond of Ansu Fati's performance: "He has huge potential for growth and I would like him to be in Barcelona. The idea is that the great players stay." Next is the La Masia Academy. “We will present a project with a new methodology to make La Masia a central supplier of new players,” he says.
Speaking of VAR. Laporta is an opponent of this innovation. “VAR relieves the fans of sincere emotions. They no longer celebrate goals the way they used to,” sums up Joan.