Could petty squabbling harm Cesc deal?

When two powerful Spanish political types heartily embrace upon meeting, it’s rarely a sign of friendship. Instead, it’s a chance to demonstrate who’s on top and riding the other like a bucking bronco in their particular relationship.

If Bigwig A has their hands clasped higher up their rival’s body than those of Bigwig B, then it is the former who is the more alpha of the males with a display akin to a baboon proudly showing his opponent the superior redness of his bum.

So it was quite a battle of wills in Sunday night’s very public hug between Joan Laporta and Sandro Rosell, two former Catalan colleagues who now hate every rotten piece of each other’s guts.

With their oversized egos being of fairly equal girth, the outgoing Barça president and the shiny new one grabbed the back of each other's head and squeezed hard with neither willing to give anything away in this psychological battle of superiority.

But it was Rosell who was the real big cheese of Barcelona, having won the presidential elections - kicking Laporta and the other two contestants into touch by snaffling 61 percent of the vote.

Jaume Ferrer was the continuity candidate, the chosen one to keep Barcelona ticking over in a similar manner to Laporta who had reached his two term limit.

The problem was that the former VP had the personality of plankton and was representing a figure most culés had grown quite tired of, despite Laporta leading the team to incredible sporting success during his tenure.

“Barcelona members have bet on keeping the sporting model and changing the manner of the presidency” writes Santi Nolla in Sport. “Rosell symbolises the tone of Guardiola as president.”

The abuse of Barça’s name for his own political ends, the mysterious relationship with Uzbekistan and the growing paranoia against the press saw Laporta waste the enormous emotional capital of a seven year reign as King of Catalunya that produced two Champions League titles and arguably the greatest Barça side of all time.

“We found a club in institutional, social, sporting and economic crisis and we were a breath of fresh air, of modernity” said Laporta on Sunday after learning that Ferrer had come last with just 10 percent of the vote.

One of those who helped bring about this clean-out at the Camp Nou was Rosell. However, the two former friends fell out in 2005 with the former Sporting VP claiming that Laporta had become drunk on power. Throughout the presidential campaign the pair became the most bitter of enemies swapping slurs and slander.

Nevertheless, the two must now co-operate for the next 17 days with Rosell’s tenure not beginning until the July 1. And it is the mutual loathing between the presidential pair that has Barça fans worried that pre-season preparations could be hampered due to squabbles over the signing of Cesc, the sale of Zlatan and the potential change of sporting director with Txiki Beguiristain expected to be replaced.

“Will it be a civilised succession as demanded by common sentiment?” asks J.M Artells in Mundo Deportivo. “Who is going to knock on Arsenal’s door and keep on asking for Cesc?”

Pep Guardiola’s biggest concern will be over how much of a role Rosell will play in signings - an area Laporta generally stayed away from - with Jaume Ferrer warning that the President-Elect “likes to get involved in sporting issues.”

The main unknown for Barcelona fans is what Sandro Rosell will be wanting to squeeze out of the club for his own ends. Nobody becomes a club president in la Liga out of the kindness of their heart.

LLL suspects he will be branding Barcelona to death.

Although Rosell has the perfect culé credentials having been a former ball boy - Daddy was a director at the time which helped get him the gig - his career has been in sports marketing.

Indeed, he joined Laporta’s campaign in 2003 after leaving his post at Nike. Previous roles included looking after the international marketing for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and working with the Spanish League, so the Barcelona players had best be prepared to be flogging everything from televisions to trucks during Rosell’s tenure.

With the former president having raised concerns over the club’s rising debt, the do-gooding days of Barcelona may also be over with UNICEF being jettisoned for an organisation who may actually pay the Camp Nou club to carry their name on their shirts.

But all this is by-the-by for the moment. The big issue now is how Barcelona is going to get through the next 17 days with two bickering presidents and two differing visions of the future.

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