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Laporta wants to bring back Pep in 2016

By Pilar Suarez in Barcelona

Joan Laporta will stand in the 2016 Barcelona presidential election and the former club chief plans to bring back Pep Guardiola as sporting director.

Laporta led Barca to 12 titles in his first mandate between 2003 and 2010, hiring current Bayern Munich boss Guardiola as first-team coach in 2008 for what would be the most successful spell in the club's history.

Guardiola eventually left in 2012 to take a sabbatical in New York after problems with Laporta's successor Sandro Rosell, but the pair could return to Camp Nou in tandem next year.

Goal understands Laporta has already made contact with Guardiola about a possible link-up and the Catalan coach is open to a sensational return. However, the 43-year-old, who won 14 out of a possible 19 titles as Barca boss between 2008 and 2012, would favour the role of sporting director.

Barca legend Johan Cruyff could also be back in an advisory role, while Laporta wants a side coached by players who shone in Guardiola's first spell in charge.

Carles Puyol, who resigned as assistant director of football following the sacking of Andoni Zubizarreta on Monday, told Barca in December of his plans to complete his coaching badges and the former club captain is one option under consideration. The 36-year-old could work alongside Xavi and Eric Abidal, both of whom are also keen to take up coaching roles in the near future, once they have passed the necessary Uefa exams.

Laporta, who plans to sever the club's controversial sponsorship links with Qatar Airways, would prefer to return in 2016 and would lead calls for a European Super League with Barca at the forefront of such a competition.

However, the 52-year-old lawyer will also stand if elections are moved forward to this summer.