Barcelona: Joan Laporta Elected President For Second Spell

Joan Laporta has returned as Barcelona president for a second spell after winning the club’s election in results announced late on Sunday.

Laporta, who ran on a promise to keep Lionel Messi at the club, won more than 54% of the vote.

The 58-year-old 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 who oversaw the appointment of Pep Guardiola as head coach in his previous spell at the club between 2003-2010 returns to a club far removed from what it was when he left.

He enjoyed significant success in his spell and his acquisition of the likes of Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho and former Cameroon forward Samuel Eto’o saw the club win the Champions League twice, La Liga four times and the Copa del Rey.

He faces an uphill task trying to recreate those successes with the task ahead of him typified by Barca’s looming exit from the Champions League.

The Catalans face Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday in the last 16, with a 4-1 deficit to make up from the opening leg.

Laporta must also grapple with the issue of Messi’s future with the Argentine out of contract in the summer and seemingly on his way out, not mentioning having to deal with a debt crisis and the ongoing damage to club’s finances from the coronavirus pandemic.