When Joan Laporta signed ‘Harry Potter’ and sold him to Porto


When Joan Laporta signed ‘Harry Potter’ and sold him to Porto

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With the squad bereft of talent and lacking players to generate excitement among the Barça fans, Joan Laporta began his mandate in 2003 with several names of his own in mind. The first and most grand, that of Ronaldinho. The Brazilian star was coming off the back of a successful spell at PSG and became the flag-bearer of 'Jan's' new project. Along with 'Ronnie', the transfers of Rafa Márquez, a Mexican centre-back who had just made a great impression with Monaco, and Ricardo Quaresma arrived.

We will focus on this Portuguese winger who arrived in Barcelona at the age of 19. Quaresma had just impressed at Sporting Lisbon. At a very young age, he had finished the 2002-03 campaign (he started at the age of 18) with 37 official games, five goals and seven assists. He was a pure, authentic winger. From the school of Luis Figo.

In fact, Ricardo was sold as a kind of new Figo. Something that ended up weighing heavily on him. As it happened a couple of years before with Simao Sabrosa. The burden of the No 7 was very heavy for all of them. There was no way of finding a winger of Portuguese nationality to fill the void.


Frank Rijkaard arrived to lead this whole crop of players. It was a complicated first year, with a squad that, despite the new faces, had many shortcomings. Joan Laporta highlighted in his presentation that Quaresma has been described by the Portuguese press as the 'Harry Potter' of Sporting Lisbon, due to "the magic he has in his boots, as he does incredible things on the run".

When it came down to it, Ricardo, who was leaving home for the first time (with Roma origin, he was very attached to his family and his people), did not work out. He made just 10 starts (22 in total, five full games) in which he scored just one goal.

After that first year fiasco and not meeting expectations, Barça sold him for the same amount they had bought him for (around six million) to Porto. There he was important (32 games, 24 as a starter and five goals) in a historic year with the first and only Champions League triumph in the history of the Portuguese club.

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