After much speculation, former Barcelona president, Joan Laporta, finally announced his candidacy for the 2021 presidential elections on Monday.
With the other main candidates such as Victor Font having declared their positions well before this week, the only question remaining was whether Laporta had the stomach for another fight.
A fight he lost in 2015 when up against Josep Maria Bartomeu.On that occasion, Laporta genuinely felt that Bartomeu’s association with disgraced president, Sandro Rosell, would be enough to ease him to power again.
However, a second treble win, this time under Luis Enrique, seemed to work in Bartomeu’s favour and he won with a relative landslide.
Since then, things have gone from bad to worse at the club, and Bartomeu being forced out was the least surprising thing to happen.
That doesn’t mean that Laporta will have a free run at the presidency again, because of all of the other candidates, Font has presented a fully costed and workable solution that seems to be gathering support all the time on the streets of Barcelona.
Where Laporta perhaps wins out is that he’s been there and done it. What’s more, at a time when Barca were enjoying a golden period under Pep Guardiola.
He’ll need more than his usual charisma to get over the line in January, but after the disaster that was Bartomeu’s reign the time is ripe for Barca members to want everything to settle down.
With Font, despite everything, he is an unknown quantity. At least with Laporta the fan base will be under no illusions as to what his presidency would look like.
Given that it would be more than likely that he would ‘get the band back together’ for want of a better phrase, and bring home the likes of Carles Puyol, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and, most probably, Jordi Cruyff, he’s onto a winner already.
Moreover, that would put him in an incredibly strong position to be able to persuade Lionel Messi to stay at the club and see out the remainder of his professional career there.
He’s unable to promise that of course, but supporters know how well he and Messi get on, and as long as the financial side was right, coronavirus notwithstanding, then there’s every chance Messi will stay.
They say you should never go back, that something is never good the second time around, however, in this case, and given the turmoil they’ve been in, Laporta is probably Barca’s safest option.