FC Barcelona – La Liga Presidential candidate speaks to MARCA
Barcelona presidential candidate Toni Freixa has spoken out about the interests behind the club’s upcoming elections, which are set to take place on January 24.
Freixa, who also ran for president back in 2015, explained that he is not willing to succumb to any political or media pressure should he win the elections.
In an interview with MARCA, Freixa also discussed the rumours that link Barcelona with Erling Haaland, Joan Laporta’s candidacy and Lionel Messi’s recent interview with La Sexta.
Q. You were member of Barcelona’s board with Josep Maria Bartomeu. Could you foresee what happened to Barcelona?
A. You just have to take a look at the newspaper archives. In the 2015 campaign I already noticed that there was a project based on Galactico signings and that academy football was not given importance. It was a presidential model. It is not that I am a fortune teller, it is that I know the club and the people who ran very well.
Define for me Barcelona’s situation.
It is a critical situation resulting from negligent management and a pandemic. We are at a time where we are risking it. We must prevent interests outside the club, which are those who are playing in these elections by silencing lies and promoting candidates sponsored by outsiders, from taking over the club.
What lies are you talking about?
There are candidates who continually lie. They lie by saying they have a person that they really don’t have. And there are media outlets that publish it as if it were true. This happens because there are hidden interests. The press is interested in certain candidates winning.
When you talk about interests, do you refer to these media outlets?
There are third party interests in controlling the club. It is time that we tell the members that the club is ours and warn them of the danger of Barcelona falling into the hands of third parties.
Is the political apparatus acting too?
That’s what certain information notes and it has not been denied. There is interest in the new Barcelona president having a certain political profile. Some candidates have met with politicians, some in office and some not. This is public and notorious; I am not saying it.
Your candidacy, what role does it play?
We are the only candidacy that is never going to submit to pressure from political parties, or media interests, or third parties who for years have exerted an influence on the club’s management from outside to make certain decisions. Our only motivation is to defend the interests of the club, and the members know that. We are the only rigorous candidacy; we talk about our program with members and supporters’ clubs, and we have a football expert who talks about how we are going to work.
Do you believe the Erling Haaland rumours?
The Haaland thing has been comical. A candidate says his name and hours later [Haaland’s agent] Mino Raiola denies it. In the Jordi Cruyff case, it was Jordi himself who said that he has no connection with the elections. Members are being disrespected.
And what about Xavi Hernandez?
Lluis Carreras and I have spoken with Xavi and it is time to say so, because it seems that he is the patrimony of a candidate and Xavi is the patrimony of Barcelona. We can tell you that he only wants to come to coach, not to hold another position. It is said that he will be general manager, but that does not coincide with Xavi’s will.
Well, then Ronald Koeman is not needed…
That is why I say that you have to tell the truth. Those who lie to members are acting unfairly.
Do you think that Joan Laporta is the favourite?
By no means. The members know very well who Laporta is and how he managed Barcelona. He left a club with a debt of 450 million euros with an annual turnover below that figure. If Laporta is elected, the club will be in real danger.
What did you think of Lionel Messi’s recent interview?
It left me with a very good feeling. I saw a Leo aware of how the club is doing, putting Barcelona ahead of everything and wanting to perform and achieve success. If I am elected as president, I know what I will tell him and, above all, I will listen to him.
Why is La Masia losing so much prominence?
It is a consequence of bringing in 50 or 60 players who do not come from our academy football and who respond to outside interests. The youths see that they have an obstacle ahead and leave. There has been no confidence in the homegrown players, only in Ansu [Fati] but because he is incredible. [Ronald] Araujo and [Oscar] Mingueza would not have be given chances if [Gerard] Pique and [Samuel] Umtiti had not been injured.