Joan Laporta (58) was elected president of FC Barcelona on Sunday with about 58% of the vote, after counting 99% of the ballots, and returns to the helm of a club he had left in 2010, to begin its reconstruction.
Four months after the resignation of ex-president Josep Maria Bartomeu on October 27, Laporta crushed this historically high turnout, and will have the main mission of extending the contract of legend Lionel Messi, which ends on 30 June.
He was ahead in the ballot box Victor Font (32%) and Toni Freixa (10%).
Nothing new for Laporta: the one who crushed the historic Sunday election in a tense context, after the resignation of Josep Maria Bartomeu in October, was already president of Barça between 2003 and 2010, and the architect of "great Barça" from the Guardiola era.
A mandate, however, marred by a motion of censure for extra-sporting reasons which he had survived.
On his arrival at the helm, the club was already plunged into a major crisis, punctuated by the succession of three presidents (Nuñez, Gaspart and Reyna) and a transitional management committee between 2000 and 2003. Aged 41 at the time of the resignation of President Joan Gaspart, Laporta won the ballot with more than 52% of the votes, well ahead of his five rivals, before being re-elected in 2006 for a second term.
He takes the head of a club that had won nothing since 1999 and promises titles from the start.
To achieve this, he attracted the young Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard, heir to the philosophy of the legendary Johan Cruyff, and the Brazilian Ronaldinho, then a season later, the Portuguese Deco and the Cameroonian Samuel Eto'o.
It's a masterstroke: Barça wins the 2004-2005 Spanish championship and thus launches its dynasty at the start of the millennium, which will reach its zenith with the birth of coach Pep Guardiola and the birth of the revolutionary team of Lionel Messi, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi and others Gerard Piqué.
In seven years at the head of Barça, Laporta won 12 titles, including two Champions Leagues (2006 and 2009) and four Spanish championships (2005, 2006, 2009, 2010), while managing to enrich the club, with a budget more than doubled (from 170 to 405 M EUR).
Beyond the sporting side, this supporter of Catalan independence promotes Catalanism in particular.
After his departure from the club, he also founded a small independence party that he represented in the Catalan regional parliament (2010-2012), and in the municipality of Barcelona (2011-2015).
Again candidate for the presidency of Barça in 2015, he was surprised by Josep Maria Bartomeu, who was forced to resign five years later by an abysmal debt (more than 1 billion euros, according to the club) and a decline athletic.
Laporta's first stint at the helm of Barça was marred by a motion of censure which he survived, suspicion of transferring funds with the daughter of the ex-president of Uzbekistan, Islom Karimov, and a case of suspicion of espionage towards the members of the management of the club.
At 58, Joan Laporta, divorced and father of three, returns to take the reins of a club with a clear first mission: to convince the legend Lionel Messi to stay at the club.
Barça is playing its future by electing its new president