Joan Laporta opens door of return to ‘enslaved’ Neymar and Messi; says PSG ‘kidnapped’ Mbappe

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By Martin Graham | 26th May 2022

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has hit out at Paris Saint-Germain for the way the Kylian Mbappe deal went while extending a hand to the club’s former stars, Lionel Messi and Neymar, to return.

A saga which was followed by all in the football space for almost two years finally ended last weekend as Mbappe penned a three-year contract extension with ten-time French Ligue 1 champions PSG.

The 23-year-old was closest to Real Madrid and many believed he would end up at the Santiago Bernabeu only for the youngster to choose to remain at PSG.

Barcelona, at some point, were in talks with Mbappe but did not go ahead with the deal due to the 2018 Kopa Trophy winner’s financial demands. Laporta has now joined his voices to the many who have spoken out against Mbappe’s renewal with PSG because of the finances involved.

The Spanish business mogul also asked his former players Messi and Neymar to consider a return to the Camp Nou ‘for free’. He also talked about how distasteful the boos of PSG fans on both players, considered the best in the world, are.

PSG sign players to slavery, Laporta says

Speaking with L’Esportiu de Catalunya on both players, Laporta said. “Who doesn’t love Neymar? He is an exceptional player. He has a contract with PSG, he has four or five years left.

“These players who have signed for clubs like PSG have almost signed their slavery. For money.”

“Messi has gone. We would all have liked him to end his sporting life here and for whatever reason he has not been able to.

“It could not be because of the fair play [rules] of the Spanish league and the proposal of PSG. These players, when they enter a dynamic like this, find that they cannot leave because the operations are many millions of euros. 

“You tell me, in the case of Neymar: I don’t know how they do it in France, because maybe they have other systems that we don’t have here, but cancelling a system that is signed in advance costs a lot of money.

“It is also true that PSG have a state behind them, they have a lot of money and maybe they can make an advance payment to terminate such a contract.”

Laporta also noted that while he would like to have either or both players back, it will only be possible on a free transfer at this time due to the crippling financial situation of Barcelona.

Mbappe deal will affect European football

Laporta then gave his two cents on the Mbappe transfer saga, betraying no sympathy for his El Clasico rivals.

He said: “This distorts the market. Players end up being kidnapped for money. These are the effects of a club having a state behind it. This goes against all the principles of the European Union.

“It is a reflection on the sustainability of football in Europe. Then there is the reading that can be done from Barca. There is a direct rival who does not come out stronger and we prefer that they cannot make us squirm when it comes to competing.

“But I’m left with the reflection on the sustainability of football.

“Because I don’t think we should care so much about a rival either. We have to worry about having a competitive team, which is what we are trying to do. 

“It has been seen that when we have cared more about ourselves than our rivals, things have gone well.”

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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