Joan Laporta has officially announced his candidacy for the role of Barcelona president in January’s elections.
A former politician and lawyer, Laporta served as Barça president between 2003 and 2010 in what was a golden period in the club’s history.
The Blaugrana won two Champions League titles under his reign, as well as four La Liga titles. Laporta’s Barcelona became world famous for their reliance on homegrown products, while he also can claim to have given Pep Guardiola his first role in management.
In his first term, Laporta also introduced Unicef as Barcelona’s kit sponsor and later criticised the club for ditching the charity deal in favour of commercial partners the Qatar Foundation.
“I’m running for elections because I love the club,” Laporta said at his official announcement, via Football España.
“We have the preparation, experience and determination necessary for the changes that the club need. We have a plan. The plan is to work.
“I want to unite all Barça fans. This is not the time to reproach or look back. In the Barça that we propose, everyone fits.
“Our plan is to bring back happiness to the people. It’s not a simple election promise. It’s an ethical, civic, moral, social and united commitment.”
Laporta also revealed that he has not yet spoken with club captain and talisman Lionel Messi about his run for the top job.
“I have yet to speak with Messi,” he said. “We appreciate each other and we respect each other. He has time to decide – I am waiting to have the confidence of the socios.
“Messi loves Barça and I’m sure that the club can give him an opportunity. I see myself capable of, at the right moment, having a conversation with him. I know we can give each other some margin, anything can happen in life.”
Barça will hold elections on January 24 to find Josep Maria Bartomeu’s successor. The much maligned Bartomeu resigned as the club’s chief back in October, following considerable pressure from players, supporters and fellow board members.
Alongside Laporta the likes of Victor Font, Toni Freixa, Agusti Benedito, Jordi Farre, Lluis Fernandez Ala, Xavier Vilajoana and Pere Riera are also in the running to succeed Bartomeu.