Joan Laporta is back as Barcelona president, and we’re all set if his last term was anything.
The charismatic Barcelona-born lawyer last served as president for seven full seasons between 2003 and 2010, with the club winning four league titles and two Champions Leagues during this time.
We looked at the first starting XI during his initial presidency, a 1-0 away win at Athletic Bilbao in 2003, and compared him to the squad that celebrated the La Liga title victory. 2009-10 with a total of 99 points after fighting. Real Valladolid 4-0.
Victor Valdès – Victor Valdès
Such was the longevity of the goalkeeper at his childhood club, nearly 20 years of Valdes, from youth training to the senior squad, have seen six different presidents in charge of the club.
He has also played under six different managers since his debut in August 2002, and finally quit in the summer of 2014, as the Luis Enrique era began with two new faces competing for a place between the sticks with Marc-Andre ter Stegen finally winning over Claudio Bravo.
Michael Reiziger – Dani Alves
Part of Louis Can Gaal’s seminal Ajax squad, Reiziger reunited with his Dutch compatriot at Camp Nou in 1997.
He won back-to-back league titles in his first two years at the club, but another five trophy-less years would follow, as Barcelona entered the 2000s with a fallow period.
Former Ajax teammate Frank Rijkaard – with whom he started alongside the 1995 Champions League final, a famous 1-0 win over Milan – regularly used the right-back during his debut season in charge before being cleared to leave for Steve McClaren’s Middlesbrough in the summer of 2004.
Juliano Belletti, Damia and Gianluca Zambrotta appeared at right-back in the following years before Alves came to define the post, arriving in the same summer as Guardiola and winning 13 major honors in eight years of success at the club.
The signing of the Brazilian in 2008 was a real triumph for the Laporta presidency.
Carles Puyol – Carles Puyol
El Tiburon (‘The Shark’) will always enjoy legendary status in the only club he has ever represented.
Since his retirement in 2014, he remains a leading voice on all Barcelona issues, and the former center-half was seen voting in the 2021 presidential elections in Barcelona.
Puyol went on to congratulate Laporta – under whom he had the most successful years of his 15-year career – on his return to power.
Phillip Cocu – Gérard Pique
Part of a large Dutch contingent at the turn of the century, Cocu left alongside Reiziger, Patrick Kluivert and Marc Overmars in the summer of 2004, while Edgar Davids returned to Italy after a successful mid-season loan.
Barcelona didn’t earn a dime for either of them, but they helped make room for the arrival of Samuel Eto’o, Deco, Sylvinho and Ludovic Giuly.
Cuckold was the team’s captain often during his year in Rijkaard’s service, and although he served primarily as a midfielder, his versatility saw him move into center-back for the victory to Sam Mames. He scored the winner of the match on this occasion, putting himself after a cross from Ronaldinho.
Gerard Pique, 16, was still in the youth ranks at that time before spending four years at Manchester United. Laporta and Guardiola brought him back for £ 5million in the summer of 2008 – and the rest is history.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst – Eric Abidal
Van Bronckhorst made his La Liga debut in the Bilbao victory, having originally been on loan from Arsenal, which marked the start of his period of adjustment from midfielder to left-back.
A permanent move was sealed a year later, and two league titles and the Champions League quickly followed.
Abidal was signed to Lyon to replace him in the summer of 2007, and the French would become a mainstay of the Guardiola era. continue reading