Joan Laporta, Victor Font and Toni Freixa are the last three remaining candidates in the race to become Barcelona’s next president.
Former president Laporta, whose reign lasted from 2003 to 2010, received the most validated signatures from the three remaining candidates, according to a club statement.
Barcelona also said another candidate, Emili Rousaud, withdrew his candidacy earlier on Thursday during the validation process.
The outcome of the election, which is set to take place on January 24, will have huge implications for Lionel Messi’s future and whether he will stay at the club beyond the end of this season when his contract expires.
Messi has said he does not support any of the candidates in this month’s election, as he tries to distance himself from the debates, and insists he has not spoken to any of them .
The Argentina international applied for a transfer to Barcelona at the end of last season, but former club president Josep Maria Bartomeu did not let him leave the Nou camp, despite claims from the camp. Messi that there was a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave for free.
Messi has not been shy about pointing out that he feels the club are in bad shape and is hoping the next Barcelona president has a clear plan to restore the club to its former glory.
There is little that Barcelona’s interim board can do to help persuade Messi to stay and sign another contract ahead of the election. This work will be in the hands of the new president.
For that, there are really only two favorites for the post; Joan Laporta, who previously served as president, and Victor Font, the telecommunications entrepreneur.
While there is no indication that Messi prefers either or the player has strayed far from the debate so far, Laporta has a good relationship with him after overseeing the most successful period in history. of the club with Guardiola as head coach.
And Laporta recently said he would do ‘everything possible’ to keep Messi if he returns for another spell at the helm.
Font, meanwhile, wants to rebuild Barça from the bottom up; producing his La Masia academy players, and he worked with one of his best products – Messi’s ex-teammate Xavi – to return as a head coach.
Xavi is also expected to be part of Laporta’s considerations but, on Messi, Font said: “I am confident that with a competitive, exciting and, especially in the case of Messi, long-term project – a project that could even go beyond the day Messi retires – we’re going to convince him to stay. “
Pioneers will begin to emerge this month, and they should point out who will occupy key positions in the hierarchy. These developments will have a mark on Messi’s thinking, but it is really only when the election is made and a firm plan is put forward that a significant impact on Messi’s future will take place.