Barcelona’s president, Joan Laporta, has boldly asserted that his team is stronger than their bitter rivals Real Madrid and has the potential to not only retain the LaLiga title but also secure victory in the Champions League. As Barcelona returned to preseason training earlier this week, they have already made two notable signings in the transfer window, namely Ilkay Gundogan and Iñigo Martinez.
Laporta spoke with confidence about his team, stating, “We have a better team than Madrid and, individually, we are also better, with a notable difference compared to our rivals.” The president expressed his satisfaction as a club member and fan, emphasizing his contentment with the team they are assembling.
Real Madrid, who finished as runners-up to Barcelona in LaLiga last season, have also been active in the transfer market, acquiring players such as Jude Bellingham, Joselu, Fran Garcia, and Arda Guler. However, Laporta remains optimistic about Barcelona’s competitiveness, stating, “We already have a highly competitive team. We have already won the Spanish League, and we can continue to dominate in this competition. Our aim is to be among the top contenders for the Champions League.”
While Laporta focuses on building a strong team rather than individual signings, he acknowledged the recent acquisitions of Gundogan and Martinez, expressing his belief in their abilities and mentioning that more signings are to come. He highlighted the need for a right-back and reinforcing the midfield line.
Despite their ambitious plans for the upcoming season, Barcelona’s attempts to bring back Lionel Messi to the club were unsuccessful. The Argentine superstar recently joined Inter Miami as a free agent after departing Paris Saint-Germain. Laporta revealed that discussions had taken place, and they had LaLiga’s authorization to include Messi’s contract. However, Messi’s father and agent, Jorge, informed them of his decision to join Inter Miami, citing a desire for a calmer environment and the ability to focus on the national team.
Laporta expressed doubts about the possibility of Messi returning to play for Barcelona before the end of his career, stating, “It’s something to ask him. I see it as more complicated. Leo takes great care of himself, has exceptional talent, and can always deliver decisive performances, as seen in the World Cup. We wish him well in Miami, and Barcelona will always be his home.”
Barcelona faced significant financial challenges when Messi left as a free agent in August 2021. Laporta acknowledged the club’s staggering debt of €1.35 billion ($1.48 billion) at the time. However, last month, Barcelona received approval from LaLiga for their financial plan, allowing them to register new players. Laporta expressed optimism about the club’s improved financial situation, stating, “The club is in a better position than it was two years ago. The magnitude of the crisis was enormous. Joy has returned to Barcelona, and we are now winning again. It’s a modest joy, but we are on the right track.”
Barcelona awaits confirmation regarding the registration of teenage forward Vitor Roque in the current transfer window. The Brazilian player, reportedly acquired for €40 million ($44.1 million) from Athletico-PR, has already signed a contract with the club, according to Laporta. However, no specific timeline for Roque’s arrival at Barcelona has been provided.
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