Laporta: Messi was very close to returning to Barcelona, but we understood his reasons for Inter Miami move

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With Barcelona touring the United States, Joan Laporta took the time to shed light on several matters.

In an interview with ESPN, Laporta talked about Leo Messi's decision not to return to the Catalan club, as well as the club's direction ahead of the new season.

The reasons why Messi did not return to Barcelona

Laporta didn't hold back when asked about Messi and his decision to join Inter Miami rather than return to Barcelona.

"He was very close to returning, but we understand the reasons why he decided to go to Miami," said Laporta. "His father explained them to us and I thank him. He had spent some time under a lot of pressure in Paris and it would have been the same in Barcelona."

Laporta remembers Messi's departure

He also shared his disappointment at having to say goodbye to Messi back in 2021 due to Barcelona's financial situation.

"I felt sad," said Laporta. "I put the club above the player. I wish everything had been different, but our situation was not good and we had to make decisions. My conscience is clear because I know I did what I had to do".

Messi, feliz en MiamiEFE

The arrival of Gundogan

As for the present, Laporta said he "very proud of the signing" of Gundogan.

"It means a lot because he turned down a new contract from City that was financially better than ours. In the past, he told me he dreamed of playing for Barcelona one day," Laporta added.

Rafa Marquez, possible first team coach?

"He manages with an iron hand and a silk glove, very similar to how he was when he was a player. He is serene, calm and makes decisions. He is a man who has had a very good season at Barcelona Atletic. Rafa, as a person, is extraordinary and I am very happy that he is the coach of the second team," said Laporta.

"Coaching the first team? That remains to be seen. We have a very good coach who is working hard to make Barcelona champions again."

On the Super League

Laporta also reiterated the need to push forward with the Super League, arguing that they want "the sustainability of soccer and to compete under the same conditions". Despite this, he also wants to "maintain the domestic leagues".

Saudi Arabia's growth

"I understand that Saudi Arabia wants to improve and promote their league, but, with all due respect, I think there are other ways to do it," said Laporta, making it clear he isn't a fan of the way they have operated this summer.

"They could invest in technologies and methods that we have in Europe to improve their soccer, for example. Talent is important, but it is not enough. Soccer is a team sport."


As for Mbappe, who's future is making all the headlines at the moment, Laporta would be pleased to see him playing in Spain, as he continues to be linked with a move to Real Madrid.

"I'm always in favor of talented players coming to the competition," said Laporta. "They promote the league and all the clubs benefit. On paper, Mbappe is an extraordinary player who makes a difference.

"Having him in front of you obviously complicates a match, but I have confidence in my team. The players Barcelona have, for me at least, are the best. We can't forget that a team is made up of eleven players and the priority must always be the team rather than individuals."

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