FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta has slammed the first-team players, including breakout sensation Gavi and his camp, as well as European rivals PSG, while also commenting on Neymar’s likely comeback.
With the Blaugrana’s 2021/2022 season coming to an end without a trophy, Laporta agreed to an interview with local Catalan sports publication L’Esportiu and couldn’t hide his disappointment with bad performances and what he sees to be a lack of character among Barca’s stars.
“I was upset and unhappy at the end of the season,” Laporta said. “I’m aware that we’ve had injuries and that we’ve had chances at times, but I believe that losing at home to Cadiz, Rayo Vallecano, and Villarreal is something that makes you upset with the team’s mindset.”
“This lack of character has affected me as much as Xavi has,” Laporta insisted. “It’s been a huge disappointment that this team has never had any leadership.”
Laporta also has a beef with youngster Gavi, who is delaying signing a contract extension with the club he has been with since he was 11 years old.
“For a long period, his agency has had the renewal offer on the table,” Laporta stated. “We have no confirmation that they have accepted it. We do know that they are comparing notes and will say something at some point. We have stated our position, which has so far been rejected.”
Laporta claimed he was “hurt” by Gavi’s agent equating the two players “because we don’t understand it,” and characterized the 17-year-old as a “kid who we all admire” with a “fantastic future at Barcelona.”
“If we have athletes coming out of the academy, we make them an offer of a present and a very promising future,” Laporta continued, “and if the agent is comparing and delaying the choice, it’s understandable that I don’t like the situation.”
Paris Saint-Germain, who had just renewed star player Kylian Mbappe with a huge signing-on fee and made him the world’s most paid player, were also in Laporta’s sights.
“The players are abducted for the money, and those who sign with PSG are almost signing up for slavery,” Laporta retorted. “These are the consequences of a club with a state behind it. That is against the European Union’s principles. It is a reflection on football’s long-term viability in Europe.”
When asked about the world record acquisition PSG took away from Camp Nou in 2017 and who the Qatari-backed giants are apparently looking to offload, Laporta responded, “Who doesn’t like Neymar?”
“He’s a fantastic player.” Laporta went on to say that “all these players would have to come back to Barça one day for free” because “we are not in a position to carry out a buy operation of what a transfer of these players may cost.”
“It would be a question of the coach deciding whether or not he can fit into Barca’s new project,” Laporta added.