Joan Laporta: “If it wasn’t Xavi, I would have fired him already” | Soccer | Sports

The president of FC Barcelona, ​​Joan Laporta, explained how the departure of Xavi Hernández was formed and what is the position of the board of directors on the “delayed resignation” of the coach. “It’s a formula created by and for him and I told him so,” Laporta said in his first words since the coach announced he would leave his post at the end of this season. In the declarations to CAR1the president of Barcelona admitted that “if it wasn’t Xavi, I would have fired him already”, but that “if he wants, he will finish the season” because “he doesn’t deserve to be fired”.

“I found out he was leaving after the Villarreal game and at first I thought I could convince him. I immediately realized that my mind was made up. Despite everything, I told him that the club was ready to fight with him until the end, that he had a contract and that we were going to respect it,” Laporta said. “I want Xavi to continue until the end. end of the season. I think he’s the best and I’m sure it will last until the last day. He gave up the last year of his contract and that gives him a lot of dignity. Now he’s more motivated than ever and feels liberated,” added the Barcelona president. The Terrassa coach is calmer, after announcing that he would leave the club. “I see the people united, my decision was the right one,” he declared after the victory against Osasuna. The Barcelona fan legend – a vital lifesaver for him to remain in office today – does not feel valued and has described his work, on several occasions, as “cruel”. A perception that Joan Laporta did not wish to comment in depth because “it is very subjective”, but he believes that “Xavi could have been helped more”. And he adds: “I have already gotten into the habit of accepting the harshest criticism from the press. Catastrophism is practiced on the situation of the club.

Despite everything, Barcelona was prepared for “an emergency situation”. If Xavi resigned immediately, Rafa Márquez would have taken over this position: “It’s the most common thing, he is the coach of the reserve team and he is trained internally,” Laporta confirmed. On June 30, Barça’s bench will be empty, looking for a new tenant who will join a long list over the last 12 years. Seven since the departure of Pep Guardiola. “Pep, Luis Enrique and Koeman had their time and now Xavi will have his,” commented the president. Laporta assures that he has not spoken with any coach – a role that falls to Deco – but that “Barça’s style is not negotiable and whoever comes must have a certain track record”.

The Blaugrana club is far from being at the top of the League, it fell in the Cup, but it is still alive in the Champions League. These are the results of a “large group, affected by injuries”, which was able to combine with an “economic recovery”. At Can Barça, led by its president, they are very positive: “If the budget is respected, the most disastrous stage in the history of Barça will end.” Respect depends on the arrival of new sponsors and the buying and selling of players, even if a few seconds before he had assured that departures were not envisaged. The budgets for the 2023-2024 season, approved by the assembly, provide for revenues of 859 million euros, of which 86 are expected in transfers. “If we fulfill the Fair play Financially, a very complicated stage will end and we will be able to return to 1×1 (La Liga does not impose restrictions on team formation),” he predicted.

Laporta defended his economic management, with a “very ambitious budget”. “When we arrived, we had 500 million losses and 1,500 million in debt. Barça legends and merchandising The bill has tripled and we have reduced the payroll by 172 million,” he began. “98% of the club’s income came from sports payroll, which now stands at 57%,” he detailed. “We do not depend on Libero’s 40 million and we already have other candidates to replace them that I prefer,” the president wanted to emphasize, since the fund is being sued by Barça for non-payment.

On the Super League: “If the English don’t come, I will lose it”

Meanwhile, the Negreira case continues its legal process: the former vice-president of the Technical Commission of Referees is summoned to testify on February 21. “Judge Joaquín Aguirre, at the request of Real Madrid, extended the investigation period. Madrid is not behaving well, having controlled the refereeing presidents for 70 years. They are exercising cynicism which is not acceptable. It’s a shame, as was the case on the day of Almería and in addition they say that the referees are helping Barça”, he criticized the white club very harshly. Laporta accuses the entity chaired by Florentino Pérez of having set fire to an “orchestrated campaign”, of which “Barça will be acquitted because the referees were never bought”. The two presidents have not spoken since the Super Cup, where they mentioned the Super League: “If it’s not from 2024-25, it will be in 2025-26, otherwise, I will rethink everything. For me, the fact that the English are not coming bothers me,” Laporta said.

Puma, an alternative to Nike

Without a coach for next season, with the Super League on hold and the results crisis, the possibility that FC Barcelona and Puma reach an agreement for the German brand to become Barça’s new sponsor is growing. First, it is essential that they separate from Nike, with whom they have a contract until June 30, 2028. “We are considering terminating the contract, out of absolute respect. They made an effort, but it’s not enough,” said Joan Laporta about a situation that “is not desirable.” The market, he says, pays them double what the Oregon brand does and “doesn’t replace their equipment.” For the president, there are three options: “continue with Nike, take what the market offers us or do it ourselves, via BLM”. Barça, which already makes its own clothes, does not exclude this option, but recognizes that “it is not the safest”.

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