Rosell voted in as new Barcelona president

Sandro Rosell has been confirmed as the new president of

Barcelona after receiving more than 61% of the vote in Sunday’s

elections.

A poll by TV3 and Radio Catalunya had earlier revealed the 46

year-old to be the runaway leader in the race to succeed Joan

Laporta.

The former Barca vice-president scooped 61.34% of the overall

share, having been voted in by more than 35,000 socios.

Agusti Benedito came second, with 14.09% of the vote followed by

Marc Ingla (12.29%) and Jaume Ferrer (10.80%).

Barca’s honorary president, Johan Cruyff, voted on this evening,

as did coach Pep Guardiola.

“This dream has been made possible by many people,” Rosell

said.

“All of those that have voted, whoever they voted for, also my

family, my friends and all of the volunteers who have supported me

in my candidacy – thank you.”

Rosell served as vice-president under Laporta for two years, but

resigned in 2005 because he believed the Barca chief was failing to

stick to his original model for the running of the club.

Rosell was key to bringing players such as Ronaldinho and Deco

to the club and has remained popular with fans.

And, despite his differences with Laporta, the new president has

stressed Barca will come first.

“From tomorrow we will all have to row in the same direction,”

he said upon casting his vote earlier today.

Rosell will now have to work with Laporta in a two-week handover

period, but expects no problems.

“It will be a smooth transition,” he said earlier this week.

Past differences certainly appeared to have been forgotten today

as Rosell and Laporta shared an emotional hug following the

announcement of the presidential results.

Laporta took over as president from Joan Gaspart in 2003, but

failed to fulfil his election pledge of bringing David Beckham to

the Nou Camp.

That deal failed to materialise as the former England captain

opted to join Real Madrid, but Laporta’s decision to sign

Ronaldinho proved an ever better move as Barcelona, following a

trophyless first season, went on to win two league titles and a

Champions League crown under coach Frank Rijkaard, also appointed

by Laporta.

The Barca president survived a confidence vote after two years

without a trophy as Rijkaard lost control of the dressing room and

Ronaldinho lost his shape.

But success on the field returned under Guardiola, who has led

the club to seven trophies in two seasons, including all six on

offer in 2009.

In Laporta’s time in office, Barca have won 12 trophies in all,

making the 47-year-old the club’s most successful president

ever.

Off the pitch, however, the lawyer has had his critics.

Laporta has been accused of mixing the club with his own

political agenda as well as using the Barca brand for his own

personal gain. But the president says he will leave with his

conscience clear.

“I am happy – I leave with the sensation of having accomplished

my mission,” he said after casting his vote.