Laporta returns as Barca president
Joan Laporta has been named as Barcelona president for a second time after winning the club’s election.
Laporta, whose central pledge was to keep Lionel Messi at the club, won more than 54% of the vote.
The 58-year-old, who oversaw the appointment of Pep Guardiola as head coach in his previous spell at the club between 2003-2010, succeeds Josep Maria Bartomeu who resigned in October.
Victor Font was second with 30% of the vote, with Toni Freixa a distant third.
Barcelona said 55,611 of its 109,531 eligible members voted in the election, which was postponed from January because of coronavirus restrictions in Catalonia.
Laporta signed the likes of Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho and former Cameroon forward Samuel Eto’o in his first stint as president, with the club winning the Champions League twice, four La Liga titles and the Copa del Rey.
Messi also emerged as a world star during that period and was among several current Barca players to vote in the election.
Amid champagne celebrations on Sunday evening, Laporta shouted: “Now let’s go to Paris and see if we can make another ‘remontada’ [comeback] happen!
“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 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 and Messi considering leaving for free when his contract expires this summer.