Rosell preparing to end former friend Laporta's reign at Barca

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In his seven years as the King of Cataluyna, Joan Laporta has been very good for Barcelona.

During his spell as president, Joan has moved on from the hindrance of having a girl’s name by guiding the team to four la Liga titles, two Champions League victories and appointing the highly inexperienced Pep Guardiola as his coach - a genuinely inspirational move.

But Barcelona has also been very good for Joan Laporta.

(Ab)using one of the most influential and high profile positions in Spain to the full. The Barça boss has been a busy beaver since 2003 by launching a political career, repeatedly attacking the ‘media cavern’, droning on about an oppression-free Catalunya and complaining about being spied upon whilst one of his underlings did it to others.

Then there was the removal of his trousers in a temper tantrum at an airport, the arguing with fans in the street and putting a fair bit of business in the direction of his law company - including the attempted sale of Mallorca Football Club - by establishing a dubious relationship between Barcelona and the human-rights abusing country of Uzbekistan.

So it’s no wonder that Laporta is very desperate indeed to cling to power by winning the Barcelona presidential elections to be held on June 13th.

Although Joan is unable to stand himself due to a restriction on term limits, the Barça bigwig has been heavily promoting the interests of the ‘continuity candidate’ and current board member, Jaume Ferrer.

Technically, Laporta is supposed to be a neutral observer in the presidential poll but being unable to keep his gob shut for more than seven seconds at a time, sees the Barça boss being extraordinarily active in promoting the good name of his puppet - sorry - friend and respected colleague, Sooty. Sorry, Ferrer.

And it’s no wonder as Laporta is sensing that he is about to be shut out of the giant Catalan cookie jar that is Barcelona football club. The strong favourite in the upcoming elections is his former best buddy, Sandro Rosell - or Alexandre, as a terse Laporta now calls him.

“I had a good relationship with him, but he disappointed me in the end.”

As so often seems to happen with Laporta, the pair are now sworn enemies, ever since his former Sporting VP resigned in 2005 accusing his club president of turning into a certifiable, power-crazed dictator.

And that’s why the pair have been merrily exchanging entertaining insults and legal threats at each through the media in their desperate attempts to gain control of the Camp Nou in several months campaigning.

Rosell’s main gripes against Laporta are that the current president has lead the club into too much debt - €629 million is the claim if you throw in the David Villa fee - has alienated Barça fans with his constant banging on about Cataluyna and has dragged the club’s reputation through the mud by sending players to Uzbekistan as part of a cultural and sporting exchange.

“This country is not just corrupt, it’s worse than that, and it’s a contradiction to do business with them and wear UNICEF on the shirt” blasted Rosell.

In return, Laporta has accused his former partner of demagoguery, immaturity, wanting to sell Xavi and Carles Puyol during his previous spell at the club and of having his own dodgy business dealings.

“[Rosell] should explain why a company where he possesses 99% of the shares is involved in a corruption case” - an allegation that appeared on the blog of a supporter of another candidate, Marc Ingla, in relation to an enterprise reportedly owned by Rosell in Brazil.

No-one really knows what Jaume Ferrer thinks. The Barça VP doesn’t appear to have an opinion of his own. Indeed, at a recent campaign event it was Laporta who hogged the limelight with a 20 minute speech touching on all his favourite topics: Joan Laporta, Cataluyna, Joan Laporta, Cataluyna, Joan Laporta and Cataluyna. And Joan Laporta.

However, no-one is ever going to find out what Ferrer thinks as it is Rosell who is going to win the election quite comfortably. An early indication of his landslide victory came on Tuesday when supporting signatures were delivered that allow candidates to formerly participate in the poll.

Ferrer was in third place with 4,442 signatures behind another former board member who felt out with Laporta, Marca Ingla, who gathered 4,744. The former Nike executive, Sandro Rosell, dumped 13,618 petitions at the Camp Nou, more than all the other candidates combined.

Rosell’s victory won’t particularly be a vote in favour of his policies, as such topics have never really entered the debate. The level of conversation in regards to Barça’s future has rarely risen above that of a group of brattish five-year-olds squabbling over a toy train.

It will instead be a vote against Joan Laporta, who has managed to squander the enormous advantage of presiding over arguably Barça's greatest period thanks to the perception that he has been taking more from the club than he’s been putting in.

And Barcelona supporters know that a vote for Ferrer is a vote for eight more years of Laporta, a man they appear to have had quite enough of.

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