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Sandro Rosell during the interview in RAC 1 / FOTO: PEP MORATA - MD

Sandro Rosell was speaking on the Monday night radio show ‘Tu diràs’ on RAC 1’, where he explained that “this is a lovely moment to live and fantastic for all Barça fans … I knew we’d be top of the table, but not by so much. I knew that Tito would respond as he has, that Roura is a great assistant and that the players would be as hungry as ever”. On Vilanova in particular, he said that “perhaps he has come as surprise to the people that didn’t know him, but not for us, we already knew how he works and that he is the firm leader both in the dressing room and when dealing with the media”.

Rosell added that “I will be very glad if in a few years from now they are saying that contracting Tito was the right decision”. For the time being, it is difficult to argue against 55 points in 57 league matches.

Best and worst news

Looking back at the season so far, Rosell reckons that the manager’s illness “was the worst news of the season … But we should respect his privacy.” The best news has been the return of Abidal, who will be receiving a federation license before January 30. Commented the president: “he has set an example and displayed extraordinary mental strength. That’s nearly over and now that he’s back playing football, it is up to the coaches to decide whether he should play or not”.

Valdés and Barça

He was also asked about Victor Valdés, who has insinuated that he won’t be renewing his contract with FC Barcelona. “I don’t think that’s true” he said. “I have heard nothing about that and don’t think that’s what he thinks, but it’s a question he’ll have to answer himself … Valdés in one of that group of players who could end his career here, that’s what I think and hope he’ll do”. He added that the club is not looking for anybody to employ as a replacement for the current goalkeeper.

Villa, Neymar and Guardiola

It has also been suggested that Villa might be leaving the club in the summer. “He is just as untouchable as Messi, Thiago, Song or Jordi Alba”, said Rosell. “If I had to say whether he’d still be here next season, I’d say he would be”.

Rosell was also quizzed about Santos superstar Neymar, who has been linked to the Catalan club, with stories in the media claiming that FCB has already paid the first 10 million for the striker. Rosell said that “we sometimes go too far regarding transparency … He has a contract until the 2014 World Cup and then we’ll see. The members have always wanted to see the best in the world, whether that means this player or any other”.

Josep Guardiola has announced his imminent return to management. What if he were to come back to Barça as a rival manger? “It’s an odd image” said Rosell. “I think it would touch all of our hearts, but we’d understand, because he’s a professional and will always be a Barça man. But he’s young and is still able to be the best or one of the best managers in the world … However, in sporting terms, I wouldn’t like it one bit.”

Confident in Barça Regal

Rosell also expressed his support for Barça Regal and Xavi Pascual: “I am not worried about the reasons for what’s going wrong. Our basketball team has been winning for several years, we have a good coach who has renewed his contract for two years and we have engaged in a new project. We want to change the basketball structure and do what we are doing with football … Everything is there to be decided, and we can’t win every title every season”.

Economics of Camp Nou and Palau

Sandro Rosell also spoke about the club’s finances. “The biggest income is from television, the sponsors, the members and the museum. All that’s still going very well” he insisted. But he made a call for prudence, especially in terms of the restructuring of the Camp Nou and Palau Blaugrana. “In a month or two, we’ll be receiving a study made by specialists that will give us all the information we need about these facilities. We would like to produce a joint remodelling programme, for both the Camp Nou and Palau Blaugrana together.”

As for his personal preferences, the president said that “I’d like a new Camp Nou on the same site as the current stadium.” As for the Palau, he added that “we’ll have to look into the best architectonic, technical and economic options, and if we can afford it we’ll do it. In the meantime, no matter what pressure comes from the Euroleague, we’ll do no more than wait”.

Neither is president Rosell totally rejecting the possibility of the Camp Nou having a commercial name. “I’m not counting anything out because we have to look at alternatives that don’t mean that people have to dig into their pockets, even though I certainly wouldn’t like having to do that” he said.

As for Board’s opinion regarding what it costs to be a club member, Rosell insisted that “as long as we are here, we won’t be raising the membership fees, because we understand how the country is going through a crisis and how the members are not unaffected by those circumstances. The club is here to help its members in the same way that they have historically helped the club” he concluded

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