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Joan LaPorta gives Barcelona new start as new club president


Joan LaPorta returned as president of Barcelona on Sunday after winning by a landslide in the club elections, with her central vow to convince Lionel Messi to stay. LaPorta was the last president in Barca between 2003 and 2010, overseeing Pep Guardiola’s highly successful appointment as coach, and the prestigious treble-winning team of 2008/9. In total, the club won four La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues during Lapora’s seven-year spell charge. The 58-year-old will return from Victor Font and Tony Freixa after being eliminated from the competition, with the other two candidates garnering enough support to make the final stages.

Laporte won 30,184 votes, fonts 16,679 and Frexa 4,769 out of a total of 55,611 recorded by club members.

At the champagne ceremony he 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 ‘Remonada’!”

Barcelona faced Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday in the Champions League, losing to the opening leg.

For a long time, LaPorta’s task would be to re-build a club in crisis, with debts piling up from the epidemic, damaging its reputation and Messi considering going free when it ended this summer.

He has stated that he will do everything possible to keep Messi at Camp Nou and has vigorously campaigned on the idea that he was the best place to convince the Argentine people because of their relationship during his past time.

In his victory speech, LaPorta showed Messi to vote on day one. “Seeing Leo, the best player in the world, comes to vote with his son, is a sign to me what we have said.”

‘Singh loves Barkha’

“Leo loves Barsa and knows that we are a big family. Hopefully we can encourage him to stay.”

A change of rule also makes coach Ronald Komann’s position uncertain, with LaPorta considering the Dutchman “deserving respect” for his work this season, while his future will depend on the results.

Komen’s contract lasts until 2022.

“I’m not worried because I have a contract and when we know who the chairman will be we will talk and I want him to show me his way,” Koeman said on Friday.

LaPorta’s main rival for the presidency was Font, an early favorite after claiming he would bring former Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernández as coach.

But the team’s progress under Koeman and LaPorta’s improved campaign cast doubt on the promise, with LaPorta last week questioning why Zaivi had not publicly come out in support of the fonts.

Zavi may have been keen to keep his options open and the Spaniard caused a stir after Sunday’s likes, and then Unplugging, an post from LaPorta, cast his vote.

Laporta will still have to decide on other former teammates of Zaevi, who have contributed so much, but whose peak years are now behind him, at a club like Xavier Pique, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba.

‘Great Family’

Perhaps most importantly, his job will be to fix the deep mistrust that has developed between the board of directors and the dressing room under the leadership of Massey and Pick.

“We are a great family,” LaPorta said. “We have a sense of belonging to this club and this feeling will go together to meet the challenges we all face.”

The last president, Josep Maria Bartomu, was forced to resign in October after club members succeeded in securing a no-confidence vote against him.

But Bartomu left before facing a vote after overseeing a disastrous final year in which Messi attempted to leave, the team being humiliated by Bayern Munich in the Champions League and the club for 1.2 billion euros Posted the gross debt.

Bartomu spent the night in jail last Monday after being arrested under police investigation for alleged corruption.

Voters were due to go to the polls on 24 January, but were prevented due to epidemic-related restrictions, meaning the election was postponed.

Promoted

On Sunday, ballots were placed at six different polling stations in Catalonia and Andorra between 9am and 9pm, while just over 22,000 voters were able to vote by post for the first time.

Laporte’s victory was officially confirmed by the club just before midnight.

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