La Liga

Laporta says Barca used cash in Ibrahimovic deal

Barcelona and club president Joan Laporta welcomed Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the Camp Nou yesterday evening during the striker’s official presentation.

It is speculated that the operation has cost the treble champions €66 million in total, and Laporta’s first order of business was to promptly defend the deal, especially after bombarding Real Madrid with endless criticism about their lavish spending this summer.

“There’s a big difference between the two. Ibrahimovic has come to Barcelona for €46 million plus [Samuel] Eto’o (valued at €20m), and he has settled a sporting situation that needed resolution,” Laporta was quoted as saying by AS. It is a different approach [to Madrid] and one can interpret what they want. We did not use one single euro of our bank debt. This makes Barcelona a serious club who respects the rules. The difference is that we always comply with the commitments that we make. It is clear that in a sporting sense, this is a great acquisition. It was an ideal operation and we will soon see if the player’s performance is profitable.”

Laporta then went on to praise ‘Ibra’ before taking the opportunity to thank the departing Eto’o, who has reached an agreement to join Inter.

“Ibrahimovic is a maverick player with ambitions of winning, he has genuine feelings, he is well spoken and he has always expressed his desire to come to Barcelona and he made a great personal effort to do so,” he enthused. “He is a player with immense talent who has the full support of Pep Guardiola, who always maintained that he was the perfect player to strengthen that particular position. I also want to express my gratitude to Eto’o. He has been one of the best players in the history of Barca and he played a vital role in our two Champions League finals. He has left great memories for us and we hope that Zlatan can surpass Samuel’s achievements.”

Finally, the Blaugrana chief also thanked his technical director, Txiki Begiristain, as well as his counterpart, Massimo Moratti.

“We must give credit to our technical director, who immediately went to work as soon as he was informed of the coach’s decision to strengthen the centre-forward role,” Laporta said. “And I must thank Moratti for his co-operation to make this transfer come to fruition.”