Joan Laporta has been named Barcelona Football Club's President for the second time after winning the recent election. Laporta, whose central pledge was to keep star player Lionel Messi at the club, won more than 54% of the votes. The 58-year-old, who was responsible for roping in Pep Guardiola as the manager of the side during his first stint from 2003-2010, will succeed Josep Maria Bartomeu who resigned in October last year. While Victor Font came second, receiving 30% of the vote, Toni Freixa ended a distant third.
The La Liga giants said that as many as 55,611 of its 109,531 eligible members casted vote in this election. The polls were earlier scheduled to be held in January but had to be pushed back owing to Coronavirus restrictions in Catalonia. Laporta had signed the likes of Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho and former Cameroon forward Samuel Eto'o in his first stint as President which coincided with the club winning Champions League twice, the La Liga four times and the Copa Del Rey.
Leo loves Barca: Laporta
It was also during this period that Messi went on to establish himself as a star player. The six-time Ballon d'Or winner was among several club players to vote in the election. Amid the Presidential-election winning celebration on Sunday, Laporta could not hold back his happiness.
"Now let's go to Paris and see if we can make another 'remontada' [comeback] happen," he was quoted.
"Seeing Leo [Messi] go to vote, the best player in the world, voting with his son, for me, this shows what we've said all along, that Leo loves Barca, that we are all a big family. Hopefully that helps him to stay which is what we all want."
Barcelona will meet Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday in the Champions League last 16 clash. They are coming from a daunting 4-1 deficit to make up from the the opening leg of this round. Among major challenges ahead for Laporta would be to rebuild a club seemingly in financial crisis owing to the pandemic. Also, star player Messi's free departure from the team when his contract expires this summer will be something Laporta will be looking into.