Lionel Messi has cast his vote as Barcelona begin their election to establish the 42nd president of the club.
Former president Joan Laporta, Victor Font and Toni Freixa are the final three candidates left in the race to become the next president of the club.
The outcome of the election – the winner of which will be in post until 2026 – could have huge implications for the future of Messi and whether he stays at the club beyond the end of this season when his deal expires.
Messi has not been shy to highlight that he feels the club is in bad shape and hopes the next president of Barcelona has a clear plan to return the club to its former glory.
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Former president Josep Maria Bartomeu was among four ex-Barcelona officials arrested last week, with the club’s Nou Camp offices also raided by Catalan police.
Current chief executive Oscar Grau, director of legal services Gomez Ponti, and advisor to the president Jaume Masferrer were the other three detained by Mossos d’Esquadra, the force confirmed to Spanish radio station Onda Cero.
The operation is in connection with last year’s ‘Barcagate’, in which club officials were accused of launching a smear campaign against current and former players, who were critical of the club and Bartomeu.
Barcelona had denied accusations that they hired and overpaid a company to make negative comments about their own players and opponents on social media in order to boost the image of senior officials. The company was accused of using fake social media accounts to discredit opposition figures when they expressed views that went against the club.
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