Ex-Barça man José Edmilson has been speaking to fcbarcelona.cat and Barça TV about the quality of Messi and Busquets, the new era under Tito Vilanova and the Barça academy system: “which is a diamond in the crown that produces players every year”
“Messi has been the best player over the last few years and he shows that with his goals and his attitude on the pitch. When I saw him coming up from Barça B, I said to my friends that he was going to do something great”
-The same group of players are still here for the start of the new era under Tito Vilanova – do you think they can continue winning?
-Yes, I think that the Club’s philosophy comes from a way back, since the time of Cruyff and they have always shown that by playing great football. I have never seen a team play as well as they did under Guardiola, with all that possession, so many goals and such quality. Maybe it will be a bit harder now, but Tito has been working with these players for a while now and he knows their mentality, knows them well. The work philosophy will be the same and Barça will still be Barça, just as strong as in the last few years.
-When you were at Barça, Messi had just begun - did you imagine he’d ever go as far as he has?
-When you saw the quality he had, yes. I came in 2004 and I saw him come up from Barça B to train with us. I said to my friends –‘this kid will do something special one day’. I think it’s brilliant to reach such a high level and keep that up for so long. The hardest thing is staying at the top and Messi has been the best player over the last few years. He’s shown that with his goals and his attitude on the pitch. Let’s hope he continues to score lots of goals and Barça keep winning”.
-You played in the middle under Rijkaard. Sergio Busquets is there now and is considered the best in the world –what do you reckon?
-He was a surprise for me, because when he came up through the B team I thought he looked a bit lost, but playing that year with Barça B under Guardiola was a big advantage. It was Guardiola’s position and he ran the team how he wanted. Sergio is a pillar of the midfield, with Xavi and Iniesta. His quality, together with the help of a master like Guardiola, has made him one of the key parts of the team.
-Is there anywhere else where the academy works as well as at Barça?
-I think every piece of work gets its reward. Barça went through five or six years without winning anything and buying in lots of players from all over the world before they realised that they had players close to home who were just as good as those they had spent so many millions on. I’ve nothing against those players of course, but the academy is a diamond in the crown that produces players every year. That’s the best thing about Barça, that every year they get better and bring youngsters through who are capable of playing for the first team and go and play for Spain. I’ve seen one big change since my time and that is the work that goes on at the Ciutat Esportiva. There are facilities there that we didn’t have and I think things are getting better and Barça will continue to bring through great players”.