Joan Laporta, who fronted FC Barcelona between 2003 and 2010, has returned to the Catalan organization’s leadership, after a clear election triumph over candidates Victor Font and Toni Freixa.
After a tortuous 131 days of uncertainty caused by the resignation of former president Josep María Bartomeu, and especially the recent “Barcagate" scandal that ended with the arrest of Bartomeu and several other members, Laporta will take the reins of the club after a landslide win, with 57.6%, ahead of Font (31.8%) and Freixa (9.1%).
Second Term at FC Barcelona
The 58-year old lawyer, businessman, and politician will get his second chance at the helm; during his first period, he spearheaded the Spanish giant"s second “Golden Age", in which the squad conquered 12 titles that included two trebles — La Liga, Copa del Rey, and UEFA Champions League — in 2006 and 2009.
According to football analysts and historians, Laporta"s greatest accomplishment in his first stint was the inclusion of Josep Guardiola as team manager, as he proved to be one of the greatest coaches in football history.
Also noteworthy is the fact that all four divisions of the club — football, basketball, handball, and roller hockey — conquered European championships during his leadership.
Seeking a Club Resurgence
With such a turbulent present on the pitch and the well-documented economic hardships that FC Barcelona is currently undergoing, it will certainly be a tough task for Laporta to bring back the organization to its former glory. However, during his victory speech, he was optimistic and excited about the future, and declared: “We will succeed in bringing joy to barcelonism. We will overcome difficulties. And don"t worry because the partners will continue to be owners of this club".
When asked about the future of superstar Lionel Messi, Laporta commented that he has a good relationship with the Argentine and his family and that FC Barcelona cares for him deeply. When confronted about the possibility of Messi leaving for another club, Laporta insisted that he will look into the economic situation before coming to Messi with an offer to renew his contract with FC Barcelona. Nevertheless, he thinks that negotiations “won"t be about money, but about presenting Messi a viable football project for him to be the king of Europe again".
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