FC Barcelona are nearing the closure of two deals with new sponsors after their president Joan Laporta took a trip to Qatar on Thursday, according to an exclusive from Barca Times.
The popular Twitter account with over 600,000 followers further reported that Laporta’s last visit to the Middle East saw him visit not only Saudi Arabia but also other Gulf countries where he held “secret meetings”.
Barca Times later shared an image of Laporta in Qatar uploaded by beIN Sports studio engineer Khaled Waleed, who also posted a rather comical picture of the president surrounded by floating $100 bills and tweeted “money is coming” in relation to the sitdown.
There is also a video, reproduced below, circulating of Laporta being asked and then confirming that the trip is his first time in Qatar.
“I’m delighted to be here,” Laporta says, explaining that he is getting to know “my friend” Mohammed bin Abdullah Al-Attiyah, who is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Baladi Holding and Baladi Express.
Laporta explains that Al-Attiyah offered him his friendship and has been showing Laporta around the city and a shopping mall akin to a “palace”.
“I appreciate him very much, and to me, with all respect, he is my friend,” Laporta adds.
Then asked if there is any business being agreed between Barca and Baladi, Laporta laughs, as do those with him including board member Xavier Puig, and says it is “top secret”.
“We are building relationships,” Laporta states, ahead of brushing off a question about whether he spoke to Lionel Messi “last night”.
Laporta going to visit Al-Attiyah follows the Qatari and the CEO of the Baladi group Hani Al-Sayadi watching Barca’s home game against Mallorca from a private box last month where “forms of future cooperation” with the Catalans were discussed.
Barca Times have not added information as to which companies might be the two sponsors, but cash from the Middle East is badly needed by the club at a time when they are trying to navigate Financial Fair Play limits and make new signings ahead of the 2023/2024 season.
Catalonia’s two biggest Barca-covering papers SPORT and Mundo Deportivo have confirmed Laporta’s trip to Qatar, but sources at Camp Nou told MD that the trip was a “professional private visit” which “has nothing to do with club matters”.