For Laporta, now comes the hardest part
Joan Laporta will be president of Barça again. He returns to the position with the clear endorsement of the members, who have opted more for what Laportismo represents in terms of pride and self-esteem than for its program of government, which was vague. Emotionality and character have won over rationality, which has remained in the background. In the world of football, despite the professionalisation of both economic and sporting management, despite the importance of business, feelings continue to rule among supporters. The partners and the fans of Barça are not an exception. In campaign, Laporta has limited himself to not make blunders, to make people forget his more frivolous profile, to leave in the background his frustrated political adventures and to appeal, instead, to the epic feats of its first mandate. And he has succeeded: he has won more than 50% of the votes, an undisputed victory. His main rival, Victor Font, despite the years of preparation and the strength of his club model, was prepared to compete with a continuist candidate of the failed board of the now investigated Bartomeu, but not to face a candidate as charismatic as Laporta.
On election night, Font knew how to lose with elegance, as did Toni Freixa, the third in the race. The photo of the two supporting the triumphant Laporta is a good sign of a change of times in Barça. Now, however, the responsibility to achieve a true transformation in the club is the winner, who will have to roll up his sleeves to get in front of an organisation that requires seriousness to rebuild from the mess it is. Barça has lost sporting and organisational credibility, as well as ethical values. Barçagate is the straw that broke the camel's back, that made the club hit rock bottom. And as for the sporting side, the humiliating defeats in the Champions League in recent years have left Barça's style deeply damaged, and Messi's future is the great unknown that will have to be resolved in the coming months. Yet Messi, as proven in the last games and his casting a vote, continues feeling the colours of the club of his life.
In any case, in order to recover the club's prestige it will not be enough to appeal to Cruyffism as a panacea to cure all ills. Laporta and his team, whose key members were made public yesterday, with Mateu Alemany in charge of the sporting side and Ferran Reverter of the economic, will have to do a lot of work, heal many wounds -in the locker room, in La Masia, in the box-. They will also be required to clean up bad practices and will have especially to set course towards the economic recovery, which is not easy, as a guarantee of a successful future. Undoubtedly, the figure of Laporta generates popular illusion, but he will have to make an effort to also generate confidence inside and outside the club to assure a solid reconstruction if he really wants Barça to return to deserve to be considered "more than a club", as much so in Catalonia as at international level, as much so in the field as in the offices, as much so in sports as in the civil society. Now comes the most difficult part.