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Messi, teammates elects Laporte as Barcelona President

Barcelona have once again elected Juan Laporta as their president.

He replaced the embattled and ousted Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Club members voted 58-year-old Mr. Laporta to defeat rivals Victor Font and Toni Freixa on Sunday, NAN reports.

Mr. Laporta, who was at the helm from 2003 to 2010, amassed 19,293 votes after 75 percent of votes were counted, earning him victory.

His closest rival, Mr. Font had 10,404 votes, while Freixa came third with 3,346 votes.

Celebrating his victory at Camp Nou, he tried to inspire the confidence of the players and fans regarding the club’s Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League last 16-second leg tie against Paris Saint Germain.

“Let’s go to Paris and see if we can turn it around,” Mr. Laporta said despite Barcelona heading into the clash 4-1 behind.

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The election for his replacement became necessary after Mr. Bartomeu stepped down in October following a vote of no confidence.

Mr. Laporta’s greatest challenge will now be how to offset the club’s gross debt of about €1.2 billion and probably how to keep their best player, Lionel Messi, whose contract expires in the summer and can leave the club for free.

Amongst the voters were Messi himself, his teammates, and former president Bartomeu.

Resulting from a social media scandal, ‘Barcagate,’ police had last week put Mr. Bartomeu in detention while they carried out an investigation regarding alleged corrupt practices with a company contracted to pilot the affairs of the club’s online presence.

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