Barcelona president Joan Laporta has said the club are in a constant tug-of-war with LaLiga over financial limits imposed upon them.
Laporta accused LaLiga of changing their own rules to prevent Barca from registering and signing players and said they will continue to fight the Spanish league with plans in place to further strengthen the squad this summer.
“LaLiga sets limits based on your accounts,” Laporta said in a news conference on Thursday which lasted over two hours and also saw him speak about Lionel Messi, transfers, the signing of Ronaldinho’s son and many more issues.
“We inherited a club in excess of its limit by €300-350 million. We have reduced [the wage bill] by around €100m but have maintained a competitive squad. By the summer, that will be €170m. We are still exceeding the limit but we saved Barca from financial ruin. What we inherited can’t be fixed overnight.
“That provokes LaLiga to apply even more restrictive rules on us. We made a huge effort, through selling assets, to register players. Every time we overcome an obstacle, LaLiga change the rules so we don’t do it again.
“It’s a constant tug-of-war. We will try to make their rules more flexible because they don’t allow us to compete in equal conditions with our European rivals. The rules are more benevolent in other leagues.”
Asked for an example of a rule change, he said: “We could start with the issue of selling assets. LaLiga changed the rule on that, which they are free to do so … We sold assets to build a more competitive team; then they changed the rule and put a 5% limit [of a club’s revenue] on asset sales.”
Despite Barca’s problems with adhering to LaLiga’s economic controls, Laporta insisted “it will not be necessary” to transfer players for large fees this summer. He also said the club plan to strengthen.
“We’re ready to respond to [coach] Xavi’s needs,” Laporta said. “It won’t be strictly necessary to sell to register. We have other solutions.”
One player who has been linked with a move away from Camp Nou is Ansu Fati. The forward has struggled for game time this season since returning from a long-term injury and there is reported interest from several Premier League sides.
Laporta confirmed meeting with Ansu’s agent, Jorge Mendes, recently, but stressed the club are not considering letting the Spain international leave.
“His agent has been here but Ansu is a Barcelona player and we have a lot of hope deposited in him,” the Barca chief said.
“At the moment, we are not considering [transferring him]. You cannot predict the future with anyone, but he is a player we have a lot of faith in. We are not aware of any movements on the player’s part, either.”
Laporta was also pressed on his relationship with former Barca player Messi following comments made by his brother this week. Matias Messi said a “clean up” would be needed for the Argentina star to ever return to Catalonia, including the removal of Laporta, in remarks he has since apologised for.
“Leo is Barca heritage,” Laporta said. “We are very proud to have had him here. He’s the best ever. But don’t make me speak about Leo beyond that. He plays for [Paris Saint-Germain] and I don’t talk about players at other clubs.
“As for his brother, he apologised and that’s that. I don’t give it any more importance … it has nothing to do with the relationship between the club and Leo. It does not impact it.”
Laporta also confirmed Barca plan to hand a contract to former Brazil international Ronaldinho’s son. ESPN revealed in January that Joao Mendes de Assis Moreira, 17, was training with the club pending a decision on whether to hand him a permanent deal.
“We are really happy Ronaldinho — and his brother, Roberto — thought of Barca to continue his son’s career,” Laporta said.
“He was at Corinthians, he’s very young and he’s training with us, but we will give him a contract. There are a few things to finalise. We still don’t know if with the U19 B team or [another team], but we are very happy with him.”
Laporta lavished praise on Xavi, too, who won his first trophy as Barça coach last month — the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia — and has the team eight points clear at the top of LaLiga.