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A defining week for Barcelona

The Barça players celebrate their third goal, scored by Braithwaite.
The Barça players celebrate their third goal, scored by Braithwaite. / AFP
  • The Catalan giants scraped through to the Copa del Rey final in dramatic circumstances, while off the field we should soon know who will spearhead the club's new project

It's been just another average week at FC Barcelona. Outgoing president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his executive team were arrested as investigations deepen into 'Barçagate', just as club members are pondering who they want to lead the club out of a crisis and how they can get to the polling station to cast what could be the most important vote of their lifetime.

But let's not forget the football... The players reached the Copa del Rey final in the most dramatic style on Wednesday night. The way Barcelona made it sums up their on-field desperation. With minutes remaining they threw the 'big fella' up front. Gerard Piqué stretched his ageing legs to score the goal which took Sevilla to extra-time.

Thirty-odd minutes later there were mass celebrations as the dark cloud lifted and the players finally had something to celebrate in a mediocre season.

Shall we put things into context? The victory was ultimately against 10 men, requiring a penalty save from Marc André ter Stegen and a winner from the most unlikely hero.

Martin Braithwaite, whose last honour was a Danish Cup winners medal eight years ago, emerged as a match-winner. It isn't a personal slight on a footballer who is living the dream, but should the mighty Barcelona be depending on a striker who has journeyed many average clubs, including Middlesbrough and Levante?

This is a dilemma for the incoming president. The last time Joan Laporta won the vote he was promising Ronaldinho or David Beckham. For his comeback, 18 years later, his best promise is picking up Sergio Agüero when he becomes a free agent in the summer. The best he can do on the Lionel Messi predicament is opine that "Messi will weigh up the offer we will make him."

Laporta is the greater showman, which is important when it is a popularity contest. Votes will be cast by 110,000 socis.

At the other end of the candidates' scale, Toni Freixa's plan is a slow-build with Koeman remaining in charge and Xavi joining the club to learn his trade as coach of the development squad.

Víctor Font is somewhere in-between. His running mate is the respected former captain Carles Puyol with a promise of Xavi being appointed as coach.

By next Monday morning, one of the candidates will be arranging papers on the presidential desk and will have to turn promises into policy.

He will have a cup final to look forward to, but also a date in his diary with Messi's 'people' who have to be persuaded by the new project.

The biggest question is the billion-dollar question. How do you turn around a billion-euro debt? Answers on a postcard (or a voting card), please.