Joan Laporta won easily in a vote of Barcelona’s membership and made clear that keeping Lionel Messi at the club was a priority. But serious financial issues could complicate his plans.
Six days after a police raid on its offices led to the seizure of files and the arrests of four club officials, F.C. Barcelona reached into its past on Sunday to elect Joan Laporta as its new president.
Laporta, a lawyer whose previous tenure as Barcelona’s president coincided with Lionel Messi’s debut with the club, and ushered in an era of on-field and commercial success, defeated two rivals in what he labeled “the most important elections in the history” of Barcelona, one of Europe’s most decorated soccer clubs.
He received more than 50 percent of the vote, defeating his closest rival, 54.2 percent to 29.9 percent. But Laporta’s reward — a billion-dollar organization facing tough decisions about some of its most popular players, a looming financial crisis made worse by the coronavirus pandemic and the potential loss of its best player — hardly seems like a prize.