“People talk and talk about the Negreira case, but I think in the future they will owe Barcelona an apology” -Joan Gaspart

Former FC Barcelona President Joan Gaspart has joined exclusively in a live interview with 365Scores and addressed some of the day-to-day topics regarding the club and a trip down memory lane, including Luis Figo!

Thank you for your time Mr Gaspart, first of all, the question everyone is dying to know! In your opinion, what is the percentage of chances for Lionel Messi’s return to Barcelona?

Gaspart: “It depends on Messi and what he will decide to do with his future. I would like for him to return and finish his career at Barcelona and I can guarantee that everyone in Barcelona, starting with the President and the members (socios), wishes that, But it depends on him”.

But it’s a little hard financially… how can Barcelona bring him back?

Gaspart: “It’s not just an economic issue. I’m sure Leo will get more money if he goes to South America, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia… that’s for sure. But if Leo wants to play where his heart is, he will choose Barcelona. It’s not just about money, it’s about him and his family being happy, and the place that will make him happy is undoubtedly Barcelona”.

With the financial crisis that Barcelona is going through, will Messi’s return help the club to solve it?

Gaspart: “FC Barcelona has many sources of income, Barcelona is not like the rest of the clubs, it is a club that does not depend on a rich owner who has a lot of money, the club has 150 thousand independent members and I believe that Barcelona will not suffer from financial crises in the future. I’m happy with our current situation and this philosophy is an advantage for Barcelona, because clubs owned by one person may fail to recover because a day will come when the owner will not be happy and will leave the club. At Barcelona, we have 150 thousand members and this is our philosophy for the future”.

What do you think about the “Negrira case”?

Gaspart: “Barcelona is a big club and has never done anything illegal related to referees…never!

You may consider it good or not, nice or not, but a nice referee can help Barcelona and give them his opinion which may help a certain player, but this is just help, and not them (the referees) giving Barcelona an advantage over the other clubs. People talk and talk about this issue, but I think in the future they will owe Barcelona an apology because they are talking without any proof that Barcelona did anything illegal”.

Do you think that Javier Tebas hates Barcelona?

Gaspart: “No, but when the investigation is over, no one will speak again! I hope those people who gave their opinion and spoke inappropriately about Barcelona will have the courage to admit that they made mistakes and said wrong things about Barcelona”.

Was it customary in your era for La Liga clubs to ask for reports on the referees?

Gaspart: “You can ask for legal things, but you can’t talk to current refs and have private conversations, that’s not right. What you can do is use people who used to work as referees, to work in your club.

In Barcelona and Spain, many clubs have appointed former referees and used them as advisers for the club, but for me, this is not a favourable thing”.

If you were president of Barcelona now, would you try to sign Mohamed Salah?

Gaspart: “Mohamed Salah is a great player! I was vice president of FC Barcelona for over 20 years and president for 4 years and in those years I never asked to sign a player on my own, this is the work of the technical and professional staff and the other responsible people. But Salah is a very wonderful player and of course, I would like him to be on my team, but it is not my decision and not the club president’s decision”.

What was worse for Barcelona? Messi’s departure or Luis Figo’s departure?

Gaspart: “Messi without any doubt. He is the best player ever, an exceptional player. Many years ago it was Di Stefano then Maradona and now Leo Messi. People will talk about Leo because he’s the best, and the best is unforgettable. That’s my opinion about his impact as a player”.

Do you think Xavi is the right coach for Barcelona?

Gaspart: “Yes, Xavi is doing very well, he has new players, young players. Although they might need a few years to become our best players, I see that Barcelona’s future will be very good. Xavi is a good coach, he knows the club and loves it and I’m sure everything will be fine”.

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