PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

As soon as he learned of the Champions League draw, Sandro Rosell, who is in Japan for the Club World Cup, spoke about the prospect of playing Bayer Leverkusen of the Bundesliga in the first knockout stage of the tournament. The FCB president said he was happy with the draw, adding that "when you get to the last sixteen, you have to be ready, so any opponent is a good one for us."

Rosell observed that "we have been very positive lately, so any option would have been correct." But he was relieved to have avoided "any teams from the east, because of the long journey and the cold over there." Rosell is also aware that "those teams are currently in their pre-season ... so it is perfect to get this team, but every team has its pros and cons."

Villa sincere

Rosell also spoke about his visit to David Villa in hospital, where it has been revealed that he will be out of action for between four and five months with his fractured tibia suffered in the semi final with Al-Sadd. "He seemed very sincere to me. He has spoken at length with the doctors, asking what he has to do to get fit again. He's a tough guy, no doubt about that. He is a very experienced player, you can tell that in situations like this. He's a true professional, a great person, and it all goes to show what this squad is like, and how they think about the team as a whole and what they can do to help."

The president is delighted to know that Villa may well be back in time should Barça get to another Champions League final. And that's for two reasons, first "it would be another setback that we have managed to overcome" and second, "because that would mean we'd have made it to the final." Rosell ended, like Guardiola, by referring to the headline a few days ago in sports daily Marca that proclaimed "Villa, for sale" commenting that "news stories sometimes appear in the papers that aren't true, like this one", and added that he had been surprised when he saw the story.

Zubizarreta: “It looks like a delightful tie”

The sporting director for professional football also spoke about the next opponent in the Champions League. "You get what you get. They represent a very important football culture, the German one, which is very intense. Last year they were the surprise package of the season, and they have some young forwards." Zubizarreta remembered how, back in his goalkeeping days, Bayer Leverkusen knocked Barça out of the UEFA Cup quarter finals in the 1987/88 season. "When their name came out, I remembered that I had played there myself once, and lost in the UEFA Cup. I hope that didn't set a precedent and that we can beat them ... I like German football, it's competitive, and it'll be a delightful tie to play."

Zubizarreta also had words on Villa's injury. "The best way to pay tribute to him would be to win the world title," he said. He was also asked whether the club would be considering any new signings to cover for the missing Asturian, emphatically replying that "our method has always been the same, we have no intention of doing anything out of the ordinary. We'll look at home first."