First things first.
Josep Maria Bartomeu and his band of corrupt cronies are to blame for the current predicament that Barcelona find themselves in. Be in absolutely no doubt about that whatsoever.
We all know the whys and wherefores of his presidency so it’s of little use to be raking over them again now, suffice to say that the former Espanyol basketball player has certainly done a number on Barca.
Whomever was going to take over from him as president was always going to uncover that which had been deliberately hidden, so from Joan Laporta’s point of view, once it became clear he would be the new incumbent, he knew exactly what he was walking into.
He would have known well before last week the extent of the financial mismanagement for example, so why was it only communicated to Leo Messi at the 11th hour that the club couldn’t sign him?
It certainly smacks of being a ploy from Laporta to get himself elected, and only coming clean when there was no other option.
Així va saludar Messi a Rafael Yuste i Joan Laporta en la seva arribada a la roda de premsa de comiat. pic.twitter.com/Gglmfhtd94— Joan Solé Giménez (@JoanSole_) August 9, 2021
Witness not only how Leo completely ignored him during his press conference, but the frosty greeting captured on camera away from the press pack.
For two people that commonly shared warm and genuine hugs, that was a very real sign that it was a messy (pardon the pun) divorce. Messi suggesting the club didn’t do enough to keep him also spoke volumes.
Having dinner with Florentino Perez just a couple of days afterwards, standing shoulder to shoulder with Real Madrid as they seek to take on La Liga over the CVC deal and continue to fight for the creation of the Super League... imagine the furore if Bartomeu had led Barca down that particular path.
Personally, I wouldn't rule out another twist. The backlash on this, effectively choosing Florentino Pérez over Lionel Messi, will be huge.— Sam Leveridge (@samleveridge) August 5, 2021
Laporta is a man who values public opinion of him highly.
The financial complications are endless, but egos will have a deciding say. pic.twitter.com/YFHF6qXSPG
If nothing else, this past week has hinted at what might be to come.
Laporta is the consummate politician. Good looking, charismatic and he always appears to hit the right notes. It’s abundantly clear why he appealed to the masses.
However, this isn’t the Laporta of 2003-2010.
This is a president that just a few days before the start of the new season has decided to take a holiday without his four summer signings having yet been registered.
This is a president that has sold Barca’s crown jewel, a player that we’ll never see the like of again, to hedge his bets on the creation of a league that no one other than Barca, Real Madrid and Juventus want to play in.
In the longer term, he might, and I stress might be able to turn things around, but Laporta can’t be trusted any longer.