Surrounded by his entire team, Joan Laporta stood triumphantly on stage. With a different mask than the one he wore the rest of the day. With the number 14, the one that Johan Cruyff wore in his sheepskin. “And orange in color. With that all said ”, the winner was encouraged. And his speech was full of thanks. “For Johan, who inspires us in all the big decisions we have to make. This is a Cruyffista and Barça candidacy ”, said the new president-elect.
Joan Laporta had been the earliest candidate. A corporate mask — still red — and a smiling gaze, he appeared at the Camp Nou before even nine in the morning, when the polls were opened. He arrived surrounded by the people of his team and voted at ten, before his rivals. Also before an image revolutionized Barcelona. And he did not star in it.
The irruption of a Leo Messi with a sweatshirt and sneakers on his day off, accompanied by his eldest son, Thiago, envelope in hand with the vote of the most popular member of the more than 100,000 called to participate in the election day, stirred the spirits of partners and supporters beyond borders. And it fueled all kinds of interpretations. Beyond his sympathies for one or the other candidate, the 10 expressed his union with the club that gave him the opportunity to become one of the best footballers in the world. Nobody is aware that just a few months ago he gave former president Josep Maria Bartomeu a pulse because he wanted to leave Barça, nor that this was the first time that the Argentine went to vote. The photo that he himself posted on his social networks, with his son, in the empty stands of the Camp Nou reinforced the message.
Nobody knows if he will continue to wear the Barça shirt at the end of the season, not even now that Laporta is already president. But few doubt their commitment.
Laporta does not, who did not want to save on applause. That’s why he also asked for one for Messi: “Today 20 years ago a boy debuted with Barça’s child b. Seeing him come to vote with his son for me is a sample of what we have been saying throughout the campaign, that Leo loves Barcelona. The best player in the world wants Barcelona. Hopefully that will also help us in the decisions we will make in the future and that it encourages him to continue with us, “he said at the climax of a speech in which he evoked John F. Kennedy:” Don’t ask yourself what your club can do for yourself, ask yourself what you can do for Barça ”.
It was expected that the conditions in which these elections were held, in the midst of the covid pandemic and when mobility restrictions continue due to the regional confinement imposed in Catalonia, would affect the participation figures. Despite everything, there was a festive day around the Camp Nou, one of the main venues. And the participation figure rose to 50.42%, much higher than that of the last elections, in 2015, with 43.12% of voters. This was confirmed by Carles Tusquets, president of the management committee since the resignation of Josep Maria Bartomeu: “I was surprised by the high turnout despite the difficulties. It has not been easy, but we are satisfied with how everything has gone ”.
Numerous families passed through the Barça stadium, with and without children, former presidents such as Joan Gaspart or even Sandro Rosell. He did it until Josep Maria Bartomeu, despite having started the week with an arrest and an open investigation after considering the Police that could cause economic damage to Barcelona of 1.2 million euros. The other captains of the first soccer team also voted, such as Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto; also those called to write the future Barça, like Riqui Puig.
As a partner, former player and former coach of the entity, the national coach, Luis Enrique, did not miss the appointment. Another ex of the house, Juan Carlos Unzué, who a few months ago announced that he suffered from ALS, was also seen at the Camp Nou. And that despite the difficulties in walking without a shoulder to lean on, as he himself expressed, he stood in front of his table and in front of the BarçaTV microphones: “I’m fine, mentally I’m still strong, hopeful too and wanting that come this day. With the hope that a bit of stability will appear in the club and we can enjoy it again. It is that stability that will help achieve success, ”he declared.
“The message of how the Barça of the future has to be has begun to sink in,” said Victor Font at the end of the day, who confessed to having conflicting feelings after having lost his pulse with Laporta. “I am an entrepreneur and you have to keep working,” he added. And he did not forget to wish the new president “luck and success”: “The situation is very complicated. You have to make pineapple ”. The same was the opinion of Toni Freixa, who made himself available to the new Barça chief executive to “unite Barça.” And he added: “We all have to go together to get out of this situation. The important thing now is Barça ”.