The race to be Barça’s new boss begins

While the prize for Florentino Pérez after his own victory was the chance to gaze at the Santiago Bernabeu whilst drooling “mmm... office blocks...” Homer Simpson-style, the reward for Barcelona’s next boss is to become the man who made the Invincibles... er... vincible.

After a perfect 2009, the only direction now for the Catalan club is down.

But despite this sad inevitability, a whole gaggle of grey-suited egotists are a’groin-stretching on the blocks, ready for the race to become Barça’s bus-driver of doom.

Although an official date for the poll has yet to be announced, this week saw the start of campaigning in the Barcelona presidential elections that are set to take place between March and June, or whenever Joan Laporta’s anointed heir has the best chance of winning.

That particular gentleman is Alfons Godall, who has been on the Barcelona board since 2003 and also happens to be Laporta’s childhood friend - a shock for those who assumed he didn’t have any.

Godall announced his pre-candidatureness on Monday at a special function where he had the out-going and outgoing Laporta by his side.

“Alfons Godall can do even better than I did,” claimed the King of Catalunya in his first recorded attempt at modesty - an effort that almost induced a stroke.

Godall’s hefty challenge is to be the continuity candidate who can deliver both success and stability but also distance himself from Laporta, who is not everyone’s cup of Cava at the Camp Nou due to his megalomaniac political ways.

Laporta (centre): Retiring, but not shy

The Chosen One has refuted suggestions of a Putin/Medvedev-style switcheroo at the end of Laporta’s two-term limit by declaring his independence from his friend and promising “more partners, more fans, more emotions, more sports, more members...” and more smugness, no doubt.

However, Godall has a rival in his continuity candidate camp with another VP, Jaume Ferrer, also in the running to be the Barcelona big boss.

Ferrer’s electoral vibe promises more of the same sporting success but without Laporta lurking in the shadows.

“Laporta was one of the best presidents of Barcelona but the problem has been his manner. He can be overpowering,” claimed Ferrer, who was reportedly called a whole stack of nasty names by his furious boss when he announced his intentions to stand.

Godall’s camp have been on the attack straight away with one of his supporters and Barcelona moneyman, Xavier Sala-i-Martin, claiming that Ferrer wanted to sack Frank Rijkaard in 2003 and was firmly against the signing of Mad Sammy Eto’o.

This bout of bitchiness has already caused some concerns in the Barcelona press with worries abound that a dysfunctional, infighting, institutional Barcelona will be more focused on the presidential poll than winning trophies.

"We should prepare ourselves for a high-tension campaign,” warns Joan Battle in Sport.

Hoping to take advantage of what is inevitability going to turn into a vote-splitting jelly-wrestle between “I’m Spartacus” and “No, I’m Spartacus” are two former VPs who both fell out with Laporta along the way but fancy another bite at the Barça buffet.

Sandro Rosell was Laporta’s best buddy on the board who brought Ronaldinho to the Camp Nou, but who later fell out with his friend over his alleged authoritarian ways and quit in 2005.

Rosell: "Look Joan, I don't want to see you any more"

To date, Rosell has merely made mutterings over his intention to stand – as is the case with another fallen VP, Ferran Soriano, who quit in the summer of 2008.

All four of the potential candidates will claim responsibility for the current sporting success of Barcelona.

All four will also be looking to distance themselves from the independance-declaring, trouser-removing figure of Joan Laporta.

But all four could well rock Barcelona’s boat over the next few months as they begin to slug it out amongst themselves over the chance to be the next Camp Nou king.

Meanwhile, the footballers are expected to get on with the job of making their bosses and potential bosses look good, despite their own reservations on the affair as shared by Andrés Iniesta: “I’d prefer the elections to take place at the end of the season, so they don’t destabilise the team.”

However, it already looks like the New Dream Team may be turning into a bit of a nightmare. More to read...

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