"We are truly in dark days for FC Barcelona. But with Monday's (January 5) events, perhaps the sun will shine sooner than we thought for the club." - Xoel Càrdenas, January 6.
Here comes the sun.
On Wednesday, FC Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu announced that elections for club president will be held at the end of the season.
"If he announces that elections will be moved to this year, I will stand up and clap for Bartomeu for doing the right thing after so many wrong decisions." - your truly just a few days ago.
I stood up and clapped when Bartomeu announced that elections were going to be held. In fact, I would have given Josep "Milhouse" Bartomeu a bro hug in I was in the pressroom. After years of terrible decisions, Bartomeu's announcement and decision to hold elections is his greatest announcement and decision in his Barcelona career.
This week has been one of the most chaotic weeks in club history. Barça losing to Real Sociedad, Andoni Zubizarreta's dismissal, Carles Puyol leaving (a decision he made a while ago), Lionel Messi causing the football world to go crazy after he followed Chelsea on Instagram, and now elections will be held at the end of this season.
I called this week "The End of Barça Days." And it has been. We are witnessing the end of the Sandro Rosell/Zubi/Bartomeu reign, and thank goodness it's finally happening. From sending away Pep Guardiola and Johan Cruyff, to letting go of Eric Abidal, to terrible signings, to tension between Messi and the board, to rumors of the idea of selling Leo, to the Neymar signing scandal which lead to Rosell's exit, to bringing in Qatar Foundation—who allegedly has a history of funding terrorism—to receiving a transfer ban for all of 2015. This FCB front office and board has been the worst in club history.
But now, a new era is coming soon. Yes, we will have to deal with Bartomeu and the current board for a few more months, but the fact that the light is coming gives many hope that better days will come.
So who will run for FCB president?
Josep Bartomeu stated he will be running for re-election. Bartomeu could've stated he will not be running, but his own board may have revolted against Bartomeu. I take it he feels he has enough socios supporting him that he could win. But he won't win. Jordi Farré and Agustí Benedito have already declared they will be running for FCB president. As most know, the man that would and will win if/when he announces his candidacy for FC Barcelona president is Joan Laporta. The former president brought years of success at FCB in the 2000s, and in my opinion, there is no doubt he would/will bring winning, tradition, stability, Cruyffism, and "Més que un Club" back to the Barcelona front office. Laporta has always had a great relationship with his players, including Lionel Messi, and would/will bring firm leadership which would/will resonate in the locker room.
Are we, the media, making Joan Laporta too much of a savior figure? Yes. But there is a good reason for that: because he truly could be a savior for FC Barcelona once again. He did it in the 2000s, including having to revamp the squad, sign the players needed to build a championship team which won the UEFA Champions League title in 2006, fire Frank Rijkaard, sell Ronaldinho, revamp the squad again, and bring in a young manager in Pep Guardiola to lead the new FCB in 2008. The rest is history.
Did Laporta make mistakes? Of course. Does Laporta have a big ego. Yes, but I'd have one if I was as successful as he has been. One thing people will state is that Laporta put FCB in debt in the 2000s—a debt Rosell and Bartomeu actually reduced thanks to their business decisions. I trust that Laporta will not have these issues as FCB president in 2015.
Will Laporta bring back Johan Cruyff as honorary FCB president? You know it. Some people are speculating whether a Laporta presidency could bring back Pep Guardiola. Pep has a contract until 2016 at Bayern Munich, and he has previously stated that a he has no interest in managing Barça again. But with a potential Laporta/Cruyff return, could Pep change his mind in 2016? Time will tell.
On Twitter, Laporta tweeted out this (translated via @barcastuff):
Tw Laporrta (ex-president): "Regarding elections, I'll speak out at the right moment and always thinking about the club's stability."— barcastuff (@barcastuff) January 7, 2015
Tw Laporta (ex-president): "Now, more than ever, we need to support the team, for the good of Barça." [@joanlaportadcat]— barcastuff (@barcastuff) January 7, 2015
Around the same time of Joan Laporta's tweets, his press manager, Jordi Finestres, tweeted this out:
Sempre m'ha agradat aquesta frase. pic.twitter.com/Olfbp2BWGi— Jordi Finestres#SíSí (@jordifinestres) January 7, 2015
Translated: "I've always liked this phrase."
"I shall return." We await your return, Joan.
So what happens to Luis Enrique?
At the press conference, Josep Bartomeu stated that Luis Enrique has a two-year contract, and he will continue to try to lead Barcelona to titles.
That's all nice to say, but Bartomeu is simply dodging the truth: Lucho is on the brink of being let go. Sport.es reported that Bartomeu met with former Barça player and Juvenil A manager Oscar Garcia. Sport.es reported that details of the meeting are unknown, but it's safe to say Bartomeu may have his backup plan ready.
Luis Enrique didn't go into details about his situation or his relationship with Lionel Messi during his press conference a few hours before Bartomeu's announcement. Lucho says his relationship with the players is the same now as it was when he arrived and feels backed by the club and the players.
Nice try, Lucho. Truth is that the players do not respect him or his football "intelligence" as manager, and now with Zubi gone, Lucho has one less friend at the Camp Nou. Lucho doesn't have many allies left. Bartomeu? From what Sport.es is reporting, seems like Bartomeu is just waiting for one more disappointing result to fire Lucho and hire Oscar Garcia.
Lucho would have been better off if he would have resigned and follow Zubi out the door. Lucho's in a lose-lose situation, especially now more than ever since elections will be held. Laporta nor any other new FCB president will keep him as manager, and even if somehow, in some freak manner, Bartomeu was re-elected (which won't happen), Bartomeu wouldn't keep Luis Enrique, as Bartomeu already has a replacement for Lucho in place.
There are some people that wouldn't mind seeing Barcelona lose just to see Luis Enrique get fired. Me: I never want my team to lose.
Lastly, can I just say if you want to tweet your anger at Luis Enrique, please tweet it to the right Luis Enrique. Latino artist Luis Enrique's twitter is @LuisEnrique. Lucho's twitter is @LUISENRIQUE21. @LuisEnrique is constantly getting hate tweets that should go to @LUISENRIQUE21. Come on, people. Send it to the right Luis Enrique. I must say, @LuisEnrique is taking the confusion well and with much humor.
Messi: The Great Dictator
There will be many that will say "The Great Dictator" has won.
Long live Generalísimo Lionel Messi.
Messi's impact on Barcelona's board is there, and if he spoke out his disagreements and concerns to Josep Bartomeu, there's no question Bartomeu and the rest of the FCB board did whatever they felt was necessary to keep Leo happy with the club's direction, hence the announcement of elections. I'm not saying it was all Leo's doing, but his influence was a factor in the decision for elections. I never doubted that Bartomeu wanted to sell Messi or make Leo concerned. Bartomeu was never interested in being the FCB president that sold the greatest player of all time.
Did Leo following Chelsea on Instagram cause the new elections? No, but let's be honest, many Culers and I'm certain that some FCB socios became a bit concerned that Leo is trying to send a message.
Leo Messi shouldn't be bigger than FC Barcelona, but reassuring Messi is a big deal, let's face facts. Messi's relationship with Rosell, Bartomeu was never good, and now with elections and new leadership coming, Leo knows a new FCB board and a better, trustworthy relationship with FCB leadership is on its way. The club will finally be led by competent individuals, plus have a new manager come in and finally bring new tactics and ideas to the squad.
Via Rafael Hernandez:
Here's our proud President, Sporting Director, Coach, Youth Manager, Scout, Jack Of All Trades, and of course, player pic.twitter.com/koIGFFHQFt— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) January 7, 2015
There is now hope in Catalunya for FC Barcelona.
Elections are coming to Barça, and the end of the worst FCB board has arrived. Things won't get immediately better, as the final months of this current FCB board era need to be seen through, but better days at Barcelona are coming. For now, continue to support the players. Remember, your voice on social media played a part in demanding elections. The voice of all culers was heard, and now, Josep Bartomeu and the rest of the current FC Barcelona board have waved the white flag in defeat.
The people won! Culers won! Justice won!
Better days are coming.
Visca el Barça i Visca Catalunya!