Abidal: I want to deliver the next Messi at Barcelona

The former Barcelona defender announced he will rejuvenate La Masia as part of the team backing Joan Laporta’s bid to return as president Eric Abidal has announced he will become Barcelona‘s sporting director if former chief Joan Laporta wins the club’s upcoming presidential elections, claiming he wants to find
the next Lionel Messi. The retired defender represented the Catalans for six years, winning four La Liga titles and two Champions League trophies before leaving when his contract expired under ex-president Sandro Rosell.
However, the 35-year-old has now announced his desire to return to Camp Nou in a directorial role as part of Laporta’s team and hopes to bring new stars through Barca’s famed La Masia youth system.
“For me it is an honour to be here next to Joan,” Abidal told reporters alongside the man who brought him to the club as a player. “I wanted to continue working here and for many years I thought about what I could do.
“We want to start a new project and find new players in La Masia, players like Leo Messi, Xavi Hernandez or Andres Iniesta. The club is the club of fans and they are in charge.
“I have been fortunate to be here on a personal and professional level. I’m very excited about this project. Barcelona is more than a club. Visca Barca and Visca Catalunya.”
Laporta spoke as well, stating his determination to return the outfit to the principles of Barcelona legend Johan Cryuff and focus on delivering first-team prospects from the youth ranks again.
“Cruyff changed the philosophy of the club, created a winning mentality and that philosophy created a style that is admired throughout the world,” the lawyer, who led the club between 2003 and 2010, stated.
“This philosophy has led us to win all the titles we could win.  You cannot defend this model if the person who inspired you is out. Therefore, I will speak with Cruyff.
“La Masia is a question of identity. We have to teach the culture of effort and teamwork. We want to base the foundations for the new Barca. We want La Masia to work well again. Seeing how many La Masia players have reached the first team pushes us to bet on this basis.
“Enrique defends Barca’s style and the philosophy of the club. The times evolve and Enrique has evolved the system. Now we also have other [tactical] variants. It is an honour for us and we think it is fair for Enrique to continue.”
Laporta also declared his intention to replace current shirt sponsors Qatar Foundation with Unicef’s logo again, concluding: “We are in favour of Unicef, other presidential rivals are the ones who like Qatar.
“The values of freedom and democracy that transmits Catalunya are ours. They are neither better nor worse than yours, but it’s not good to link the image of the club to another country.”
The election to decide who runs Camp Nou concludes on July 18, with Josep Maria Bartomeu, Agusti Benedito and Jordi Majo also among the candidates to run the club.

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