Joan Laporta, during the first speech given as president-elect of FC Barcelona.ALBERT GEA / Reuters
The Barça universe revolves around Joan Laporta since it ceased to be controlled by Josep Lluís Núñez. Today Barça president built his landmark work in 2003 from the ruins of the mandate of Joan Gaspart (2000-2003), right-hand man of the constructor who led the club from 1978 to 2000, and today he returns to the stadium box to try to lift an institution broken and demoralized by Barçagate, the end of the misrule of Josep Maria Bartomeu (2015-2020) in the same way that the signing of Neymar Junior caused the resignation of Sandro Rosell (2010-2014). Rosell and Bartomeu shared a board of directors with Laporta for two years (2003-2005) and both have favored the return of the 58-year-old lawyer from Barcelona to the Camp Nou.
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Nobody has conditioned more the life of Barcelona than Laporta since in 1998 he led the Elefant Blau platform contrary to the continuity of Núñez. "Laporta has been the one who has changed over time without ceasing to be Laporta", agree some of those who continue by his side and congratulate themselves for his ease in connecting with the Blaugrana people after the political parenthesis, convinced independence since the time of the PI with Pilar Rahola, deputy in the Catalan Parliament for Solidaritat Catalana per la Independència and later councilor in the Barcelona city council. The political curriculum has not necessarily penalized him in his attempt to bring Barcelona together on his return to Barça. Today it is difficult to contradict Laporta.
Fortunate or certain, he has the gift of presenting himself as the right character at the ideal moment, as the journalist Joaquín Luna would say. "Laporta's triumph was a system error because we were considered a squatting board," says former Vice President Albert Vicens when he remembers the 2003 triumph over Lluís Bassat, a consensus candidate who brought together influential political representatives (Miquel Roca i Junyent) , economic (Salvador Alemany) and sports (Pep Guardiola). Today, those powers that be who played against it fell silent and bowed to Laporta's ascendant. Nobody lifted a finger against him and those who question his decisions are reprimanded by those who consider themselves Templars of the Camp Nou.
The banner of the Bernabéu
"There is an abysmal difference to understand the president of 2003 and that of 2021", argues one of the intimate collaborators of the president of Barça. “He travels without a rear-view mirror, he has no rancor and has matured so much that if he threatened to fire everyone who crossed his path on the way to the Camp Nou before, now he is willing to talk to each one to find out about their situation, a logical disposition if we have account that 18 years have passed ”. "I have voted for him despite all his flaws," says another of his former directors in a phrase that synthesizes his success against Víctor Font, supporter of a radical change, and Toni Freixa, the third-way candidate , defender of the union between cruyffistas and nuñistas, collaborator in his day with Laporta, Rosell and Bartomeu
It is not disputed that Laporta can manage the many active Barcelonistas, figures such as Xavi Hernández and Jordi Cruyff , who appeared as the leaders of the Font sports project, in the same way that he is not reproached for the mistakes of his past, as if they had prescribed or had paid for all, when he was subjected to public derision – some media even published invoices for his more conventional lunches – and to a social responsibility action for part of Rosell's board. The general feeling is that it is already known how bad could be known about Laporta and therefore it is not necessary to delve further into his business with Uzbekistan, in espionage and not even if he put the club's economy at risk after appointing Joan as CEO. Oliver.
Even though today there is still controversy about the economic balance and its multiple interpretations, the transfer of powers from Laporta to Rosell was always considered less traumatic, not even because of the sports heritage, than that of Gaspart or Bartomeu's. Laporta, in any case, has always had a waist so that his failures would be forgotten, not counted or attributed to a self-centeredness necessary to defend Barça. Very witty and unique in improvisation, Laporta is distinguished by his good waist: he announced Beckham, then bet on Ayala-Albelda-Aimar and showed off at the end of Ronaldinho. And he embraced UNICEF sponsorship after negotiating with a pharmaceutical company and later with the Beijing government.
Laporta's grace is in his imperfection to face the uncertainty in front of those who have organizational charts and organizations that are supposed to be infallible and therefore do not need to be validated in an electoral process, either in 2003 against Bassat or 2021 against Font. Laportista's motto has been unequivocal: experience and courage to get out of an extreme predicament generated by those who presume to be endorsed by Esade. "Ho tornarem a fer" (We will do it again) has repeated to retain his faithful (around 14,000 members) and conquer the disenchanted after identifying Madrid as an enemy: "You want to see you again", it was read in the banner of the Bernabéu . "Madrid did not win a single Champions League when I was in charge," he added on TV-3.
There is no better flag than self-esteem and optimism in times of victimhood and pessimism at Barça and in Catalonia. And the image of Laporta projects the Luz de Gas room and the champagne, the Champions League in Paris and Rome, the Barça joy in the face of Madrid's penalties. He has metabolized the best moments and expelled the worst after being faithful to the statement of a Madridista like Javier Marías: football is the weekly recovery of childhood (Wild and sentimental). It should not be forgotten that unlike Núñez, Gaspart, Rosell and Bartomeu, Laporta has been the only president who has exhausted his term despite the motion of censure to which he was submitted in 2008 and exceeded by six points (66% compared to 60%)
The power of seduction of the charismatic Laporta reaches the extreme that it is attributed to him that Messi voted for the first time after he wanted to leave Barça in the summer. It is not known how he intends to convince 10 or overcome the financial crisis -the bet on the bonuses is confusing-, it is also unknown who will be his sports director -the name of Jordi Cruyff is shuffled- and the economic one -is assumed that he opts for a supposed Real Madrid player like Mateo Alemany— and it is not clear if he would accept to play in Montjuïc in the event that Espai Barça forces the Camp Nou to close due to construction work. And he is supposed to be able to overcome Barça's critical situation. Friend and disciple of Johan Cruyff, he appears as the reincarnation of founder Joan Gamper to save Barça
Emotion weighs more than rationality at a time of so much general disorientation in the Barça club and in the country that nobody cares who will pay the guarantee of 124.5 million euros that he must present to LaLiga to validate his position as president of FC Barcelona. Laporta works as if he were the Sun King in the darkest moments at Camp Nou.