Laporta poses for the interview.
Joan Laporta (Barcelona, 58 years old) , president of FC Barcelona between 2003 and 2010, aspires to lead the Barça club again from Sunday. He had already tried in 2015 , when he faced the candidacy of Josep Maria Bartomeu, then endorsed by the treble of Luis Enrique's team. Optimistic, seductive and charismatic, the lawyer is committed to recovering the club's economy, a company that he claims to have achieved in his first stage in command of the Camp Nou.
Question. You who have been a good center forward, do you play central in these elections?
Answer. Midfielder game. I don't know how to play defense
Q. How Busquets?
R. Like Xavi [laughs] …
Q. Do you have the feeling that you compete against Víctor Font [bet on Xavi as general manager] and Toni Freixa, but also before Carles Tusquets, president of the management committee? A three against one.
R. At first, when I was the one who wanted the elections to be held [initially scheduled for February 24 ] because I understood that Barça should have a president as soon as possible and the other three no, yes. But now I have this sensación.
Q. Did you decide to stand for election when he observed that hardly would rival? A. No.
when they had decided to introduce elections 2015.
R. had warned that That was not the club model, that those who had been directing Barça after me did not inspire confidence and that those who were to come, less. And I noticed it after a triplet. There was another club model, which is the one I represent, that had already been successfully implemented. Today we have adapted it to the new circumstances and we have improved it. I am very well accompanied and I feel safe. However, I really appreciate what I did in 2015. It was a sweet defeat to try again to apply our idea. Now you have to be very brave to come forward. And we are. I am psyched that we can win and I am already thinking about the 8th
Q. Is it true that you now control the powers that be?
R. I have never been part of the establishment . I'd say it's the other way around. I am independent from the powers that be, both from the political and economic ones as well as from the media. In that sense, they can see me as a person that they cannot control. I'm like this. And I will continue to be the same way .
P. Do you understand that the bad of your previous administration prescribed, because it is already known and, instead, only the good remains?
R. Maybe it is that there were few bad things.
Q. Or is it that you already paid for the bad thing?
R. I agree. People accept me as I am. They know the things they have had to forgive me for and they value the good aspects. Whenever controversial things happened, some that could have prevented me and others for which there were no reasons, people have treated me well. I was lucky to be the president of the best Barça in history, but I have also been a brave president. I have made decisions that have remained in the collective memory of Barcelona fans and that have been valued. I am privileged, I feel loved.
Q. Has that allowed you to avoid presenting programs and organization charts?
R. I did that job. Our project has already been implemented and has been successful. What we have to do is improve it and that is what we have worked on. And we have to keep working hard. I never did such a good campaign, and that in this one we have had many obstacles .
R. There are people who work a lot, but who do not do it well and who have had to rectify all the time. We have not made mistakes. We have a lot of experience, I am better prepared than in 2003
P. Send an optimistic message in the face of a critical situation
R. I am like that, I see the glass half full. I have the feeling of having achieved what now needs to be done again. Conceptually it is the same: losses, reduced income, very high expenses and a huge debt. That is what we had in 2003 and that is what we have now. However, in 2003 we did not have the possibility for financial entities to enter football. I remember a six-month job to get the syndicated loan. Soccer was a high-risk business and is now regulated. There are instruments. But above all, the message of panic must be rejected. It does not suit Barça. You have to think about the institution, the message of fear does not serve, much less that of victimhood. Anyone who does not want to be optimistic who is not, but who, at least, knows that he can remain calm. Barça will once again be sustainable.
Joan Laporta: "If another candidate wins, Messi will not stay"
Q. Is this message summarized in the banner that he placed near the Santiago Bernabéu?
R. It was a message of optimism, but also of challenge done with respect and subtlety .
Q. When you say that you will do it again, there are people who interpret that phrase in political terms.
R. Let everyone see what they want. What worries me and occupies me is Barça and how to reverse the economic situation. Everyone fits in our Barça. I will not get tired of saying it. I will not stop feeling what I feel, but I will work tirelessly so that the club is an engine of optimism for all the people who love it all over the planet. I will never do party politics at Barça. I never did. Another thing is to respect the values of the club and do country politics. Barça has a very symbolic charge in Catalonia. And that is accepted here and around the world
Q. Do you think it could be like Joan Gamper, who had to return to save the club?
R. I hope it doesn't happen to me like Gamper, who had to come back five times. If I manage to make the club sustainable again, that the members continue to be the owners and that the joy returns to Barcelona, I will be very happy.
P. Gerard Piqué stressed that Florentino Pérez exercises leadership with the Madrid players that Bartomeu did not have . Do you agree?
R. I think they were wrong in dealing with the players
Q. In what sense?
R. You always have to tell the truth to the footballer, they are very intuitive. That's the key.
P. He says it because of what happened with Messi .
R. They have deceived the players, or the players have had the feeling that they had been deceived. And that has triggered a situation in which Leo said enough. Messi and his entourage have told me one thing that fills me with pride: "All that we have said it has fulfilled" .
Q. Now what you can promise the Argentine
R?. The first thing to do is give him affection, make him feel loved. That is the most important. With me, he will have a president who will fight to any extent so that his sports career ends in style. But Leo will also see that we have the ability to make a very competitive team .
R. I'm not going to give you names. I know how the market is. I am in contact with everyone in case it is necessary to improve what we have. And I also know how everyone is. I can assure you that the desire to come to Barça, if I am president, all the players have.
Q. A former teammate of yours has commented: “I will vote for Laporta despite all his defects”. What do you suggest?
R. [Laughter] Thank you.