Laporta: Ibra will not be sold

MADRID - Barcelona's outgoing president Joan Laporta has quashed speculation the signing of Spain striker David Villa will lead to the sale of Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

"Ibra is not for sale," Laporta, who steps down at the end of June, said at a book launch on Thursday.

"He is a very valued player and I know the technical staff are counting on him," he added. "Villa's signing will not affect Ibra's future."

NEWS: Barca capture David Villa

Ibrahimovic, 28, has struggled to live up to expectations following his move from Inter Milan in a swap deal with Samuel Eto'o, netting 16 league goals in 29 matches in his first season compared to Villa's 21 and top scorer Lionel Messi's 34.

However, one of those was the crucial winner in November's "Clasico" against arch rivals Real Madrid and he also has seven goal assists.

After sealing a second consecutive La Liga title on Sunday, Barca moved swiftly to strengthen their squad by snapping up Villa from Valencia for 40 million euros in a deal expected to be completed on Friday.

Follow FFT.com on Twitter Join FFT.com on Facebook