We are entering the final sprint of the presidential campaign in Barcelona. This Monday was already decisive, since each candidate – they were 9 at the start – had to present 2,257 signatures of members to have the right to move on to the next round, in a way. And as was to be expected, few of them collected the required number of signatures. Unsurprisingly, we therefore find Joan Laporta, Victor Font, Toni Freixa and Emili Rousaud. The opportunity to take stock of the profile of each of these candidates.
Joan Laporta: he is the big favorite, and the best known of the final list for the general public. His huge poster, displayed on the side of Madrid, a few steps from the Bernabéu, had been the most striking moment of this short campaign. President of the club between 2003 and 2010, he was one of the main architects of the return to the top of the Catalan team, which was going through complicated times. Strong bets were made at the time, such as the decision to hand over the keys to the truck to elements like Txiki Begiristain, Ferran Soriano or Pep Guardiola, as well as to display Unicef as a jersey sponsor. If he is rather charismatic and fond of media appearances of all kinds, he has on the other hand been rather discreet for the moment, far from the big announcements that other candidates have been able to make. He unveiled the team that will work with him, where we find some former collaborators of his first mandate, but we do not yet really know what will be made of the sports organization chart of the club. The name of Mateu Alemany, former CEO of Valencia often comes up for the post of sports director for example, but has never been officially confirmed. The same goes for many mercato tracks, such as Erling Håland. Where he has a huge card to play is with Lionel Messi, since he would be the closest candidate to the Argentine. There is no doubt that if he managed to convince the Argentine to stay, he would further strengthen his status as favorite, but here again, we remain in the realm of the hypothetical. The main lines of his project are, however, quite clear: Cruyffisme, Masia, find financial balance.
Victor Font: the Catalan businessman wants to embody the renewal. In the wheel of Joan Laporta, on the other hand, he was more clear about his project, with several big announcements, especially at the level of the sports organization chart. One name comes up all the time for his plans in the event of victory: that of Xavi Hernandez, to whom he wants to offer the position of general manager, or even coach in case Ronald Koeman is not retained. In addition to the former midfielder, he also wants to rely on Jordi Cruyff, and emblematic figures of the club in key positions, such as Joan Vilà and Albert Benaiges to lead the youth training, or Paco Seirullo for the methodology. His project thus aims to restore its former glory and value to La Masia. Ambitions not very different from those of Joan Laporta, and the two men have more in common than they have between them. Only, Font presents itself as the future, whereas in his eyes, Laporta’s program focuses above all on nostalgia for a bygone era, with decisions and a way of proceeding that are no longer relevant and could not no longer work today.
Toni Freixa: even if he has repeatedly wanted to break away from this label, he is presented as the candidate for continuity. The one who for many years was part of the management of Laporta (he had however resigned), of Sandro Rosell then of Josep Maria Bartomeu is representing himself after a failure in 2015. His project will put Lluis Carreras, a former player of the club, to head of the Catalan institution’s football management. He did not really want to venture into the transfer window, even though he has already made it known that he will pursue a policy of austerity, and he has also closed the door on a return of Neymar. Where he stands out from other candidates is that he insisted on the financial aspect, saying he has a recovery plan in mind. He also spoke a lot about the other sections of the club (basketball, hand etc.) as well as the women’s teams, which he wants to improve.
Emili Rousaud: the chef’s surprise? Protected by Josep Maria Bartomeu for a while, he was then expelled by the former president. Supported by the agent Josep María Minguella who will be his vice-president in case of victory, Rousaud wants to forget the setbacks and scandals of recent years. Unlike the others, directly sent the sauce to him and did not hesitate to talk about potential transfers. He directly mentioned the names of Erling Håland (BVB) and Kylian Mbappé (PSG) with discussions that have already been initiated, as he also spoke of Neymar (provided he comes to the end of the contract) there is a few weeks. It is in the line of José Luis Núñez, president of the club for 22 years, who had been at the origin of the transition of Barça from a football club to a real company. On the other hand, the former club figure was often criticized by this inferiority complex vis-à-vis Real Madrid, which Laporta had managed to erase during his tenure. Rousaud presents a very business-oriented project, which is not to be overlooked in today’s times, but has not really revealed more avenues for the sporting side.
Source: Foot Mercato : Info Transferts Football – Actu Foot Transfert by www.footmercato.net.
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