Sandro Rosell would be more than happy for both Xavi Hernández and Carles Puyol, who he considers “two historic stars that will be difficult to match”, to see out their professional careers wearing the FC Barcelona colours. “We would love both of them to hang up their boots at the club and never play professionally for any other team” he said.

Having already praised his captain, the president added that Xavi is “an example, a historic player that has beaten every record for appearances for the Club … I think he wants to end his career at Barça too, and I have no doubt that that will be the case.” The president was speaking at one of his many meetings arranged this week in New York, in this case a visit to the New York supporters club, located in Bar Smithfield, Chelsea, where he met up with an old friend, former player Rafa Márquez, who plays for the city’s MLS soccer club, the Red Bulls.

Tello’s contract

Rosell also spoke to the media about some of the latest issues affecting the club, including his intention to extend Cristian Tello’s contract, saying “he is one of the players we would like to keep with us. He is what Barça is looking for, youth products that will stay with us a long time. We have a lot of Catalans that grew up at the club and are now in the first team.”

As for the much talked about Brazilian, Neymar, Rosell said that “he is a Santos player until 2014, and he will stay there until then. It doesn’t matter”. Delighted with Tito Vilanova

Rosell also discussed the performance so far of Tito Vilanova on the first team bench, saying it has been “excellent. He’s in a very difficult job. It isn’t easy to replace a living Barça legend like Pep. He’s doing really well, I’d say excellently, given the pressure of taking over from somebody who has made history, is unforgettable and has set new standards for the club’s life and history.”

On the clásico at the Camp Nou on October 7, Rosell said that, like any meeting between Barça and Real Madrid, “you can never predict what is going to happen. This is one of the most open matches of the season … But we are going into this game with the utmost enthusiasm, we are very ready for it, we have the right attitude and we evidently want to look as strong as we can in front of our fans and around the world”. But he doesn’t think this particular encounter is any different to the others, neither because of the political climate in Catalonia at the moment nor the eight-point difference between the two teams. “This has only just started and there’s a long way to go yet in the league” he said.

As for the argument between Villa and Messi during the game with Granada, Rosell thinks it’s a lot of fuss about nothing. “We aren’t worried in the slightest. Anybody who has played football knows that arguments like this are all part of the game, and can even be positive for raising tension and morale”.

Much activity among New York supporters

Sandro Rosell was also impressed by what is being done by the FCB supporters club in such an important city as New York. “No supporters club is more important than any other” he insisted. “But there is no getting away from the relevance of New York as a city. Some might even say that it’s the capital of the world, and so it’s nice to see such a numerous and active supporters club in this city. They don’t stop organising activities and showing that support for Barça is strong even in a country like the United States, where football is not the most important professional sport”.