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“He has Barcelona kidnapped with intoxication and lies” Laporta lambasts president Bartomeu for state of club

Date Posted,August 6, 2017

Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta has hit out at the running of the club, in an astonishing blast at current chief Josep Bartomeu.

Laporta has again lambasted Bartomeu as “a disgrace” declaring “he has Barcelona kidnapped with intoxication, with lies”.

Laporta spent seven years as Barcelona’s 38th president, during which time he signed Ronaldinho and later hired Pep Guardiola, setting the club onto the greatest period in its history.

He also ended the club’s long background of avoiding shirt sponsors by featuring UNICEF on the club’s shirt – paying the fund the privilege to do so.

Joan Laporta and Bartomeu have plenty of previous (Image: Rex)
Barcelona president Joan Laporta (C) and director of football Txiki Begiristain (L) pose with Pep Guardiola (R) during his presentation as Barcelona's new coach on June 17, 2008 at the Camp Nou in Barcelona
Laporta was vital to Guardiola’s progression to the top job (Image: AFP/Getty Images)

Since his departure, he has seen the club move away from that agreement, signing sponsorships with first Qatar Foundation and then Qatar Airways and believes the club has left behind the values it once held.

They have also inked a £200million sponsorship deal with controversial Japanese company Rakuten, who in 2014 were revealed as being the world’s biggest seller of ivory and whale meat.

For that, Laporta puts the blame firmly at the feet of Bartomeu and his predecessor, Sandro Rosell – both of whom walked out on Laporta 12 years ago, resigning in protest at his presidency.

Bartomeu with new Barca boss Ernesto Valverde (Image: REUTERS)

“It’s very difficult to have any feeling with Bartomeu,” Laporta told Goal. “Because he is a person who, with his attitude, he has Barca kidnapped with intoxication, with lies – and on top of that he is a president who is facing charges, so in that respect he isn’t very trustworthy.

“And in addition, it has been shown that he is a puppet for the one who is in prison [Sandro Rosell]. And therefore, I think this is a disgrace.

Laporta and the current Barca board have previous, having been engaged in a court battle with those that returned to replace him at Camp Nou.

Rosell – with whom Laporta has a long standing antipathy since the 2005 hierarchy rift – claimed his predecessor had left the club with massive debts, and alleged financial mismanagement, demanding Laporta pay €79million. The court ruled in Laporta’s favour.

Currently Rosell is languishing in prison, held without bail accused of money-laundering.

Barcelona’s ex-president, Sandro Rosell (Image: AFP)

His fall led to Bartomeu taking charge of the Catalan giants, under whom Barcelona have seen Messi convicted of tax evasion and Bartomeu himself faces charges of fraud and corruption in an ongoing case brought by DIS, a Brazilian investment company, over the 2013 signing of Neymar.

“We are suffering at Barca because both the one that is in prison and the one we have now as president were the ones that made a deal with the public prosecutor, which saw Barca convicted, for the first time in its history, for a double tax crime.

“There is no transparency when it comes to explaining things, there is not sufficient information. Everything is very dark at Barca, not at all transparent. And that is down to the president we have.”

Laporta called for the current board to stand down earlier in the summer, stating he would stand for a second spell as president if they departed now, rather than when Bartomeu’s mandate is due to end in 2021.

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