At the press conference given today by vice-president for sport Jordi Mestre and director of football Andoni Zubizarreta, the man on most people’s minds was Dani Alves, on whom the latter said that “we are delighted to have him here with us and with the way he is performing … I insist that both parties have agreed that his current contract will expire in 2015. It doesn’t include any extension clause”.
On Messi, he commented that “I admire him. He’s always playing against memories of him at his best and despite that pressure, he’s always lived up the task”.
As for Neymar, his verdict was that “we have no problem with him. There is absolutely no doubting his quality as a footballer.” He refused to comment on other issues, that he insisted are internal squad matters.
Gerard Deulofeu has been loaned to Sevilla, and Zubi offered that “he is a player who we’ll welcome back here with open arms because he knows that he has the talent to play for us”.
Regarding Barça B star Munir El Hadaddi, the comment was that “we’ll be working with his agents to decide on the best way to deal with his progress and contractual matters. The first team doors are open both to him and to Sandro Ramírez, but their team for now is the B team”.
Zubizarreta also explained a bit more about what Carles Puyol will be doing when he joins the technical department. “He’ll not only be helping us with transfers, but also with training methodology and coordinating youth football. His experience of top level football will of great use to us. He’ll start with a training process, but his knowledge will be a major contribution. He will also be helping new players to settle in and with the monitoring of players out on loan”.
He didn’t forget Gerardo Martino, who “did a wonderful job at a very tough and difficult time. He accepted the challenge, and that’s very much appreciated. As a person, he gave us all an important lesson in life. I learned a lot just from talking to him about football”.
He concluded by commenting on the negotiations that had sought to sign Marco Asensio for Barça B. The operation didn’t work out because “Mallorca didn’t want to sell the player”. He was also pleased with the commitment shown by young Argentine striker Maxi Rolón, who has finally been included in the B team.