Barça’s ex-president Joan Laporta has strongly hinted that he could stand again for president in the next elections in 2016. In a press conference this morning Laporta said: ‘Every day I’m more enthusiastic and I feel prepared to return to be president. The elections have to be in 2016 and then will be the moment to make the relevant reflections at a professional, personal and family level’.
Laporta used the press conference to criticise several aspects of Sandro Rosell’s presidency, blaming the current board in part for Pep Guardiola’s decision to leave, questioning why Victor Valdés wants to leave and criticising the decision not to offer Eric Abidal another contract. He also questioned Tito Vilanova’s lack of authority after his recent statement that ‘they give me the players and I train them’, while also attacking the decision to put the name of Qatar Airways on the shirt. He also expressed doubts about the wisdom of signing Neymar, defended himself against the accusations of financial irregularities and claimed the current board have made pacts with violent groups such as the Boixos Nois. Laporta also criticised the management of La Masia before concluding that ‘this board of directors has an obsession to destroy the legacy that we built with such success and effort’.
It was quite an attack from Laporta and I have to agree with most of the criticism. Every day there seems to be another piece of news that annoys me and as I’ve said before I am very worried about the direction being taken, especially over who is in charge of buying and selling players. Since the unveiling of Neymar the names being mentioned as possible reinforcements in defence have changed from the big names of Thiago Silva, Matts Hummels or Marquinhos to the bargain basement names of Matthieu, Rami or Vermaelen, none of whom can be seriously considered as top drawer players.
These may just be rumours but other movements at the club have left me very concerned. Firstly, what did physiotherapist Emili Ricart do wrong not to deserve a renewal of contract after five years at the club? This is the man who climbed mountains with Eric Abidal to help him back to fitness but it seems that because he was one of Pep Guardiola’s favourites he is no longer wanted.
Decision surrounding Barça B are also worrying. Having finished 3rd in the second division in 2010/11 with Luis Enrique in charge we finished 8th in 2011/12 and 9th in 2012/13 under Eusebio Sacristan but this has been deemed good enough to keep Eusebio in the job. The final league position of course is not of so much importance as the B team should primarily be concerned with producing players for the first team. Unfortunately in this respect we have also been failing with the most promising players such as Deulofeu and Rafinha hardly having a sniff of first team action in the past twelve months. Another failing has been the decision not to use the €3.8 million clause to buy Luis Alberto who was one of the most consistant performers last season. Instead the player has gone back to Sevilla who may be on the point of selling him to Liverpool for a reported fee of €8 million.
Finally, I have to admit my heart sank when I heard that Luis Enrique had signed as Celta’s new coach as I seriously believed he should have been offered a position in Tito Vilanova’s first team staff. With Vilanova’s health problems there needs to be some reinforcement to the staff to cover for when Tito is absent. Is there a plan? I don’t know, but Luis Enrique would have been an excellent addition to the group and now we have missed out.
There are plenty of things to be worried about but I should conclude by saying that I’m not sure whether Laporta is the solution. When he first came to power in 2003 he had a young vibrant team with people such as Marc Ingla, Ferran Soriano, and yes, Sandro Rosell to support him. Over his years in charge he managed to fall out with the majority of his team and if it hadn’t been for Pep Guardiola we might well be looking back at his presidency in a much more negative light. His criticisms today are generally valid, though whether Guardiola’s decision to leave had anything to do with Rosell is really not known. It is still a long time until the 2016 elections and my main hopes are that Rosell doesn’t totally screw up leading to an exodus of our best players, and that somebody better than Laporta and Rosell comes along in time to restore some sense and unity at the club.