Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Laporta: " 'More than a club' is not just a slogan"

Barcelona president Joan Laporta gave an interview to Catalan newspaper Avui.

You were deeply moved at the presentation of Alfons Godall as presidential candidate. Friendship aside, did you also see the event as the beginning of your goodbye?
No, it was basically because of friendship, he's a friend who has taken an important decision. But also because, as Xavier Sala said very well, I want the dream to continue to be a reality, that this model that has made us be recognized as the best club in the world and this period that is being the best in the history of Barça can go on.

He is someone who has always been there with me. It was a mixture of the respect I have for Alfons Godall and the fact of seeing him, who is for me the most suitable candidate, take this step and to show a lot of courage.

Do you picture the final stretch of your mandate in a special way?
I take things day by day, but if I take some distance, I see a lot of good football, a lot of those games that the Barcelona fans like. And as we want this era of success to continue, I would also want, with the elections coming up, that the candidate show their responsibility.

I do not think that anyone would dare to do things that could harm the team, although with the choice of the date I also think that we have made things clear now. As for me, I take everything that comes with the peacefulness of knowing that the end is near.

Looking back at your time at the club, what are you most proud of and what are you least proud of?
Especially of the sporting decisions. To have appointed Txiki Begiristain as sports director. We also have always had very clear ideas and we have defended them in the most difficult moments, which is also when we have learned the most. We had decided to change things completely, and we did it.

We have recovered the Catalan identity of Barça, and the most Catalan Barça in history is also the most global one. As you can understand, I'm very proud about that. We have made it very clear that 'more than a club' is not just a slogan but a declaration of principles.

Those who wanted to change us in just another club should re-think things because we became the best club in the world defending to be 'more than a club' because of our football, cultural and solidary identity. Because there's also the Foundation, a pillar of the club. The soul of Barça can only be understood through the Foundation, that is developing those programs to support the most vulnerable children.

We have a team of people who believe in these ideals. With the director of the Foundation Marta Segú, chief executive Joan Oliver, sports director Txiki Begiristain, the executive of the football area Raül Sanllehí, the squad led by Pep Guardiola now and Frank Rijkaard before. And the board colleagues, especially those who helped me to lead the way.

We also asked also what you're least proud of...
Of not having won more titles. I think we still could have won more. Apart from that, although we are broadly recognized by the fans and despite all what we have done, we haven't been able to achieve that the closest part of the entourage, the part of the opposition that always has to be there, the part of the media that always has to be critical, almost by nature because another group isn’t, we haven't achieved that they would overcome, so to say, their obsession.

There are people and media that have taken such a position that they cannot say anything good about what we have done in seven years. Those people need to get a check-up. Of course we have also made mistakes, but to take positions that are so radical, so visceral, seeing all those favouritisms, personal interests and in some cases obsession... As things have gone, I don't say there should be unanimity, but we should have had another kind of relationship with these people.

this was the first part of this interview. you can read the second part here.

Read more:
Laporta: "We need someone who's able to resist"
Poll result: Can Laporta openly support Godall?
Godall: "I have a great feeling of relief"

interview: xavi xirgo and jordi cortada