Former Barcelona president Joan Laporta is among the final candidates for this month's elections

Joan Laporta, Victor Font and Toni Freixa are the final three candidates left in the race to become the next president of Barcelona.

Former president Laporta, whose reign lasted from 2003 to 2010, received the most validated signatures of the three remaining candidates, according to a club statement.

Barcelona also said another candidate, Emili Rousaud, withdrew his bid earlier on Thursday during the validation process.

The outcome of the election, which is scheduled to take place on January 24, will have huge implications for the future of Lionel Messi and whether he stays at the club beyond the end of this season when his deal expires.

Messi has said he is not backing any of the candidates in this month’s election, as he tries to distance himself from proceedings, and insists he has not spoken with any of them.