You’ve got to hand it to Joan Laporta.
The man for the big occasion, he hit all of the right notes in his opening, official address as Barcelona president.
A smattering of expected schmaltz notwithstanding, Laporta appeared genuine in everything he said.
Good job because every step he takes, every move he makes, we’ll be watching him.
Certainly, the feeling one had when watching him was of positivity. Of being at the beginning of something special again, however much the odds are stacked against him.
That’s what Laporta is so good at you see. That way about him that Bartomeu and Rosell before him never had.
Even if we balance any argument by saying that Laporta probably isn’t whiter than white himself, there is a charm and charisma that he exudes that makes it almost impossible to dislike him.
To be fair to him too, his modus operandi hasn’t changed ever since he took office the first time.
Wanting to build a winning team, ideally with La Masia graduates. To have a thriving academy system consistently bringing through new talent. Multiple revenue streams befitting a best-in-class football club.
Looking back, how Josep Maria Bartomeu ever beat him so painfully in 2015 is anyone’s guess.
In any event, there’s more to do now than there was in 2015 thanks to the last, failed regime. Publicly expressing his love and gratitude to Leo Messi couldn’t have been a better start point.
How can our captain and No.10 refuse him now?! At least we can be assured that Laporta will go all out to try and keep him and if he should still decide to move on, well, he’s earned that right.
The narrative and mood have changed and that can only be a good thing for Laporta as he eases himself into the comfy chair.
However, whilst all of that was ongoing at Camp Nou, La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid were making an absolute hash of trying to qualify for the next round of the Champions League.
Having another two games to play in the Premier European competition at least would’ve surely benefitted the Catalans, given that Barca only have league games and the Copa del Rey final to concern themselves with.
Real Madrid will need all of Zidane’s remarkable powers in play in each of their upcoming big games if they don’t want to fall off the pace in the league further, whilst Diego Simeone, though surely disappointed by Atleti’s cup exit, will know that no more distractions for his side can see them throw their heart and soul into each remaining league fixture.
In the box seat already, it’s going to take a monumental effort from Barca to leapfrog them, whether Laporta has the Midas touch or not.