FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta has launched a scathing attack on the club’s archrivals Real Madrid, accusing them of poor behavior and an exercise in cynicism. Laporta also claimed that sportswear giant Nike could be in breach of contract with the Catalan club, potentially leading to a breakup of their long-standing partnership.
Laporta’s comments come amidst a clash between Barcelona and Madrid over various issues, including the Caso Negreira referee payments case and the use of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology in Spanish football. When asked about the conflict, Laporta criticized Real Madrid for their behavior and accused them of cynicism.
Regarding the VAR controversy that arose after Real Madrid’s 3-2 comeback victory over Almeria, Laporta stated, ‘They cannot talk much about the power that governed the referees, look who they have been for 70 years or [who some of the] directors or partners of Madrid [have been]. They are doing an exercise in cynicism that we do not accept.’
Laporta also expressed concerns about Nike, suggesting that they have breached their contract with Barcelona and highlighting the deteriorating relationship. Laporta stated that other potential market opportunities could pay Barcelona double the amount, implying the possibility of a switch to another sportswear brand, possibly Puma.
‘We have some concerns and a situation that is not what we wanted. The operation has been deteriorating, we think they have breached the contract,’ said Laporta. ‘Puma? Don’t mention names. We are talking to Nike. In times of difficulty, they have not shown themselves. In words, yes. When we have shown our teeth, they have made the effort but it is not enough.’
Addressing the options available, Laporta mentioned continuing with Nike, accepting what the market offers, or creating a new brand through Barca Licensing & Merchandising (BLM). When asked about the possibility of creating a Barca brand for their jerseys, Laporta confirmed, ‘Yes. If you see what a shirt costs and the price it is sold at… We already make our clothes.’
In other news, Barcelona’s head coach Xavi recently made headlines. However, Laporta dismissed accusations that he has helped himself to the club’s funds, calling them false. Laporta emphasized the recognition of Xavi’s great work in redirecting the sporting situation and highlighted the combined efforts of economic improvement and building a competitive team.
‘Obviously it is not true. We have to understand with Xavi that there is no recognition of the great work he has done to redirect the sporting situation. We have combined economic improvement with making a competitive team. We have supported it with our personal assets. I don’t care much about what they say, I have a lot of military service [with the club],’ Laporta concluded.
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