Laporta, without Guardiola, Puyol or Xavi

Laporta’s win in the Barcelona presidential election was utterly convincing. The participation was high (nearly a record and in a pandemic) and he garnered more than half the votes. His success seemed assured since he announced he was running and was confirmed when he splashed a poster right next to Real Madrid’s stadium in a brilliant, subtle gesture. Everything about him emanates optimism. He didn’t worry a jot about his rivals, focused only on his own message, which was pretty much remembering what happened the last time he was president. Amazing years, not so long ago, recent enough in fact that some players are still in the team. Years the fans miss so much it hurts like an open wound.

Laporta's previous presidency

With everything in his favour he didn’t even have to justify the darker moments of his time in charge, and there were some. He lost a number of his associates (Rosell, Bartomeu, Ferran, Soriano, Ingla…) due to his personality. He had the occasional episode that brought the club he presided over into disrepute, such as the ‘striptease’ in the airport. He avoided a vote of no confidence because the statutes require 66% support, but 60% backed it. He ran again in 2015 against Bartomeu with a focus on Catalan independence and lost ("whoever wants to see the Camp Nou full of esteladas vote for me". The estelada is the unofficial flag of the Catalan independence movement - UEFA punished Barcelona over their presence at the Champions League final in 2015, but later changed their rules). But none of that has barely been mentioned in this campaign.

Good luck to Laporta

Laporta has won thanks to his personality, his charm and his credibility. His approach has been conciliatory. No demands that those departing take economic responsibility for what they’ve left behind (and well he might, they did it to him), he’s not aroused passions of Catalan independence, and hasn’t attacked Real Madrid or the referees. Constructive messages and an enthusiastic approach. He deserves luck, like everyone who puts themselves out there. He won’t have Guardiola, Puyol and Xavi alongside him this time, who were so important in making what happened happen. He’ll still have, we all hope, Leo Messi, whose decision to go and vote made it clear the club is still his home. A new contract for the Argentinean would be Laporta’s first success.