Rosell and Cuní / PHOTO: MANÉ ESPINOSA / LA VANGUARDIA

Sandro Rosell praised Messi in an interview conducted by Josep Cuní on 8tv. “No one is better than Messi. He’s the best footballer in the history of the Club and for me, he’s the best player in the history of the sport. He’s the only rooster in the henhouse,” he said in reference to FC Barcelona’s 2013/14 roster. The president believes that the Argentinian and Barça’s newest signing, Neymar Jr, will have a great relationship: “They are both great people with great hearts and I believe that both of them will do their best to bring the team as much success as it has had in the past.”

Along these lines, Rosell was clear that Messi played a crucial part in the team’s successful run over that past five years: “The last five years at Barça cannot be understood without Guardiola, in the same way, they can’t be understood without Messi or his team-mates.”

When asked about Neymar Jr, Rosell said, “he’s a great player and a great person who has a lot of potential. He can be a great team-mate to Iniesta, Alba, Cesc, Xavi ...”

The issue is that they [PSG] don’t want to sit down at the negotiating table. They don’t need money

The FC Barcelona president was also asked about possible future signings, like Thiago Silva. “He’s a player who we really want in the team, but we won’t [buy him] if his price tag is too expensive.” He added: “In this case it’s not about price. That’s not the problem, we’re negotiating with people who don’t care about money. The issue is that they don’t want to sit down at the negotiating table. They don’t need money. I wish that was the problem.”

Villa knew that if he had stayed he wouldn’t have enjoyed the amount of playing time he desired

Rosell also talked about the departures of David Villa and Thiago Alcántara. On the forward, he explained, “Villa knew that if he had stayed he wouldn’t have enjoyed the amount of playing time he desired.” Rosell added: “The sale and purchase price is just as important as his salary, the years left on his contract, the age of the player and if the manager wants him or not. I think it was a fantastic sale for Barça, a great purchase for Atlético Madrid and great for the player.”

On Thiago, Rosell noted that the player wanted to leave the Club: “Guardiola wanted to sign him and he wanted to leave. I only asked Thiago to tell us if he wanted to leave. If a player wants to leave we have to find him a way out.”

With Neymar Jr, without Villa and Thiago and with the possible signing of Thiago Silva, Rosell believes that the upcoming season could be historic for Barça: “Cycles in football usually last about three years and we’ve been going strong for five. The challenge is to make it six years.” When asked about the team manager, Tito Vilanova, Rosell said, “he’s very eager and has a lot of energy.”

Appeal for unity

Rosell then appealed for unity among Club members and supporters. The Barça president explained that one must learn from past errors and he noted that the Club must be above any ‘ism’: “I ask that we all learn from the past and that we would all row in the same direction.”

The president admitted that he was “very surprised” by Josep Guardiola’s recent comments toward the Board of Directors: “There’s a clear record of how the best manager in Club history was treated by the institution. I don’t think all of this noise is good for Barça and we should view it as a passing thing, like a small blemish that shouldn’t erase the great history that Pep wrote during his time at FC Barcelona.”

I’m guardiolista and I think it would be fantastic if his final era at FC Barcelona would be as president. I’d vote for him

In addition, Rosell declared that the claim the Board used Vilanova’s illness to hurt Guardiola is patently “false.” He added: “I’m guardiolista and I think it would be fantastic if his final era at FC Barcelona would be as president. I’d vote for him.”