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Joan Laporta wins Barcelona presidential election

Joan Laporta appointed as Barcelona new president after triumphing in Sunday’s election.

A total of  55,611 members voted, with Laporta securing 54.3 per cent of the vote, comfortably beating rivals Victor Font (30 per cent) and Toni Freixa (9 per cent).

It means that Laporta will enjoy a second term in charge of the club.

Laporta’s first spell as Barcelona president was to prove a hugely successful one. He took charge of the club in 2003 and left it seven years later undoubtedly the best team in the world.

With Pep Guardiola in charge and star players like Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Lionel Messi all in their squad, they set the benchmark for quality in the game. Indeed, they are still regarded as one of the greatest sides of all time.

Laporta’s challenge in his second spell in the helm of the club will, however, be even greater. Barcelona is bogged down in debt and will be forced to make drastic cutbacks in terms of its spending in the months ahead.

Similarly, the contract Messi expires in the summer. Laporta had vowed those who voted for him before the election that their best chance of retaining the Argentine was to vote for him. It would, therefore, be an early blow to his credibility if Messi were to leave.

When he was asked if he would be in touch with Messi’s entourage tomorrow, he said: “Why tomorrow? I can speak tonight, the night is long.”

“These are the most important elections in the history of FC Barcelona,” Laporta declared. “They have been organised in a model fashion.”

Meanwhile, Font told TV3: “I think it has been an effective campaign. It is good for the club that we celebrate a democratic day like today and that we congratulate the winner.

“The results are not what we wanted, but I want to thank thousands of Catalans who have supported us and given us their trust.

“I believe that the context in which the club finds itself has led to a rebound effect. We were fighting against a well-known former president. Against that, it has been very complicated

“I will continue working to assure that the Barca of the future is as we believe it should be. We have to reflect and absorb the result, but the aims of helping to transform the club continues.”

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