Barca given fresh start as Laporta elected new club president
Joan Laporta returned as Barcelona president on Sunday after winning the club’s elections by a landslide, with his central pledge to try to persuade Lionel Messi to stay.
Laporta was last president at Barca between 2003 and 2010, which included overseeing the hugely successful appointment of Pep Guardiola as coach and the iconic treble-winning team of 2008/9.
In total, the club won four La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues during Laporta’s seven-year spell in charge.
The 58-year-old will return after holding off competition from Victor Font and Toni Freixa, the other two candidates to gain enough support to make the final stage.
Laporta won 30,184 votes, Font 16,679 and Freixa 4,769.
Amid champagne celebrations shared with his team on Sunday night, Laporta shouted with a grin on his face: “Now let’s go to Paris and see if we can make another ‘remontada’ happen!”
Barcelona face Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday in the Champions League last 16, with a 4-1 deficit to make up from the opening leg.
Longer-term, Laporta’s task will be to rebuild a club in crisis, with crippling debts exacerbated by the pandemic, its reputation damaged and Messi considering leaving for free when his contract expires this summer.
He has said he will do everything possible to keep Messi at Camp Nou and campaigned heavily on the idea he was the best-placed candidate to convince the Argentinian, owing to their relationship during his previous time in charge.
A change of regime also leaves coach Ronald Koeman’s position uncertain, with Laporta insisting the Dutchman “deserves respect” for his work this season while maintaining his future will depend on results.
Koeman’s contract runs until 2022.
“I am not worried because I have a contract and when we know who is going to be the president of course we will talk and I want him to show me his way,” Koeman said on Friday…..read more