BARCELONA chief Joan Laporta claims Manchester United and Liverpool were the ‘real founders’ of the controversial European Super League.
The football world was stunned in April when 12 of the continent’s top clubs – including the Premier League’s ‘Big Six’ – announced they were forming a breakaway division.
The closed-shop project would have replaced the Champions League and guaranteed annual participation for its ‘Dirty Dozen’ founders.
However, a furious fan backlash prompted nine members to swiftly withdraw, leaving just Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus in the ESL.
But despite looking like one of the main guilty parties, Barcelona president Laporta insists that English giants United and Liverpool were the original orchestrators of the ESL.
Laporta claimed: “Liverpool and United were the real founders of the Super League.
“Uefa threatened and was demagogic. The clubs have still not paid the compensation for leaving.
“The Super League project is alive. It will be the most attractive competition in the world, and it will be based on meritocracy and solidarity.”
Laporta also took time to lift the lid on Barcelona’s woeful financial situation.
But he is confident top earner Lionel Messi will sign a new contract, with the Argentine’s current deal expiring at the end of the month.
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Laporta added: “The club is worse than I expected, and I expected it to be in a difficult situation.
“There are some contracts that greatly limit us. There are things that will have to be explained and I won’t rule out any measures.
“The same people always appear in the contracts. We have found ourselves with a squad with out-of-date salaries and we will have to juggle.
“Existing contracts can be changed or restructured, and then there are drastic measures that we would not like to have to take. Nothing is ruled out for the good of Barcelona.
“Between salaries and amortisations we have a figure of 650million euros, which is more than the club’s income. These salaries are out of date.
“I would like Messi to say yes as soon as possible, it would help us in every way.
“We are in communication, day in and day out. He’s excited and I’m grateful for the desire he’s showing to stay.”
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