Joan Laporta was Barcelona's president between 2003 and 2010 and now he has spoken about his career and his philosphy about Barça
When you speak to Laporta, you know he will mention Johan Cruyff before or after. "He was the ideologist, who developed Barça’s style of playing and what we wanted was to apply it again in the first team. We asked him for advice and he was always there”, explains Laporta.
During its presidency, he bet on the youth players, and they become a really important pilar for the first team. “A player who comes from formative football, who knows the identity, who knows what the values are, will find it easier to exercise leadership functions. Besides, a player who has always dressed the Barça shirt feels the shield like none”, explains Laporta. And it is that if in Barça, the victories come when there is good game, the good game comes when there are youth players trained in La Masia.
"The times that Barça has won titles there were many players from the Masia. For players who do not come to make a difference, we better bet on those from the Masia. The mistake of the last few years is that we have not reinforced ourselves with players from ADN Barça. Or the club is still betting on its Masia and its style of play or will not be able to compete with many clubs with more financial power”, explains Laporta who disagree with the current directive.
Asked about the players that Barça could get back for the first squad, Laports says that “each case is different and it is not the same to recover Piqué for 5 million that consider recovering a player like Bellerín for 50. You have to find formulas with every player that allows you to have the possibility of recovering them at a reasonable price. In addition, the player must help in all possible aspects to make his return viable, but it is better to take one from home. That is why the effort should not be so much in capturing the outside, but loyalty to the inside. That is Masia, the rest is portfolio”.
When Laporta started as a president he knew it won’t depend just on its ideas, it must be applied with professional people who could make possible the theory. “Sandro Rosell knew Josep Colomer, from his time at Nike, and together with Amor they were entrusted with the management of formative football. La Masia was one of the pillars of our model for various reasons. I had a personal motivation of mine because if you look, the best moments of Barça have come with players from the squad in the first team.
Especially we realised with Cruyff and later with Guardiola. Cruyff was determined to bet on the talent of home and make him play. It was a reference we had, but there was more and we wanted to promote it. Another reason was the economic issue. To make the club sustainable, you need to promote players from the Masia. On the other hand, from the point of view of guaranteeing the style there are no more valid players for that way of understanding the game than those that we have here and that have been formed in the youth categories. That is why grassroots football follows the same system as the first team. Tactically guaranteed you have more players ready. In addition, the estimation that these players have for the club is maximum, so all are reasons to bet on the Masia”.
The return that is obtained from La Masía is very large, and as an example we can catch Pedro, Busquets, Puyol, Xavi, Valdés, Messi, Iniesta, etc. “Investing in La Masia allows you to stop investing every summer for 8-9 players, as many clubs in Europe do that spend millions every year. To these clubs the money does not come from football, it comes from other industries and that is why we have to value the talent we have at home”, concludes Laporta.