Rosell, Zubizarreta, Puyol and Guardiola, with the Club World Cup trophy / PHOTO: ARXIU FCB

2011 is coming to an end at it’s time to evaluate the year. “The season already is a success. Not only because of the titles we’ve won, but how we’ve done it. The combination of both of these factors allows me to say that the season has been a good one, no matter how it ends. If we win the League or the Champions League, it would be excellent,” said President Rosell during the press conference at the Sala París. “You travel the world and everyone tells you that Barça is the best team in the world,” he added, visibly proud of the football Josep Guardiola’s team practices.

“Guardiola has a contract on the table”

The manager was one of the main focal points of the press conference. “What I want for Christmas is Guardiola’s contract renewal to be signed,” admitted Sandro Rosell, who reminded the journalists that “this Board has extened his contract twice.” Conscious that this is a “personal” decision for Guardiola, he said, “he knows that he can sign for one, two, three or even four more years, until our term is up. He has a contract waiting for him ...  we will do everything possible so that he cannot say no.”

Along these lines, the president admitted that “Zubizarreta is working diligently to plan the football team next year, and the next and the next, with the idea that Guardiola will stay, but you cannot plan without having a plan B just in case he decides to not continue.” If the manager doesn’t renew his contract, Rosell avoided words like “panic” or “fear” to define the situation that the Club would be in: “The Club is above any person. The day he leaves, we’ll all be sad but we won’t panic.”

Why should the manager renew his contract? The president was asked. “To be happy, for the group, for the results, for motivation, eagerness,” he responded.

Complete silence on Neymar

The second name on everyone’s lips at the Sala París was Neymar. The Brazilian player has been linked to the Club by various news outlets. “He’s a Santos player until 2014 and, if Barça were interested, I wouldn’t say anything. If we made a move for the player, I wouldn’t say anything. The only thing that I would accomplish in saying anything on the subject would hurt Barça’s interests and I won’t say anything that would damage the Club,” he said.

Improving institutional ties with Madrid

President Rosell said that the institutional ties with Real Madrid were improving. “I think they have improved. This happens with time. Now we have the correct institutional relations with them,” he explained. Rosell went on to say, “the facts demonstrate that Real Madrid’s attitude towards Barça has changed. The tension from last year is gone. Those five games against them were not good.” Rosell said the Real Madrid’s President, Florentino Perez, wished Barça luck in the Club World Cup after the victory at the Bernabéu (1-3) and he sent a congratulatory letter to the Club after the victory in Japan. On Mourinho’s comments, Rosell simply said that “that’s part of the world of football.”

Abidal, ready to renew his contract

President Rosell said that Éric Abidal is very close to signing a contract extension with FC Barcelona. “We’ll soon announce Abidal’s contract renewal. There are some fiscal loose ends that need to be addressed, mainly because his tax status has changed. We have to give him a contract that adheres to the law. He had the Beckham law now it’s time to redo it. It’s right around the corner,” he said. He also talked about Alexander Hleb, who could leave Wolfsburg, the team that currently has him on loan. “If he returns, we’ll have to find him a way out,” said Rosell.

11 from the Masía, Ballon d’Or and schedule review

Sandro Rosell confessed that it would be a “dream” to see a final will 11 players from the Masía in the starting lineup, something that could happen in any Barça game. “This isn’t our main objective, it’s to form, create players,” he indicated.

The Masía, however, will be a protagonist at the FIFA Ballon d’Or gala when Xavi and Messi, along with Cristiano Ronaldo, will be named among the three best players in the world. Any preference? “I want Messi or Xavi or Xavi and Messi to finish first and second. Any Barça player winning it would satisfy me,” said Rosell.

Lastly, the president talked about the proposal to shorten the Liga schedule to grow the Champions Leauge. “We must work with the international schedule because it’s not optimal. We must redesign the Champions League and reduce the national competitions. A complete overhaul is needed for the schedule and the competitions,” he said.

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