Ramon Tribulietx has guided Auckland City into the Club World Cup for five straight seasons. / AUCKLAND CITY

You've probably never heard of Ramon Tribulietx. The coach of Auckland City, a Catalonia native and die-hard FC Barcelona fan, has guided his team to the FIFA Club World Cup for the fifth consecutive season. While Auckland City would have to make the final to face Barça, Tribulietx sat down to confesses his admiration for FC Barcelona in an interview for fcbarcelona.com.

How did Ramon Tribulietx end up leading a team like Auckland City?

"In 1999 I joined Auckland City as a player. I had the opportunity to meet people and make contacts and, in 2008, having been the coach of teams like Sant Andreu, Figueres and Castelldefels, I received a proposal to be the assistant coach at Auckland. Two years later I became the coach."

You changed the team's philosophy.

"It was very difficult. New Zealand clubs had always played a very direct style of football. As a player I suffered through it; I did not identify with long balls and quick transitions. We had to change this mentality little by little to become the team we are today, hungry for possession. Now people are used to it and are convinced of this style."

That sounds like Barça's playing style.

"Our idea is very much like that of Barça and I identify 100% with their game. But I try not to make references to Barça with my players. We can not compare ourselves with the best team in the world. In any case, everyone knows that I am Catalan and a Barça fan. There's no need to say anything else."

Despite the distance and the time difference, can you follow Barça matches?

"Whenever I can I watch them, either on television or on the Internet. I stay up to date with everything."

You said that Barça is the best in the world. Why do you think that?

"It is true that this Barça is a little different from the 2009 or 2011 teams, when we also saw them in the Club World Cup. Then it was the Barça of Xavi and Iniesta, but Xavi is not there anymore. In any case, the team has retained its DNA and maintains possession virtually by default. It also added players like Neymar and Suárez on attack, who contribute more directly. It is the number one team and is arriving at the World Cup in top form."

Do you consider Barça the favourites in Japan?

"I think so. River Plate lost three or four key players after the Copa Libertadores and I don't think they are at the same level as a few months ago."

Your Auckland City was the revelation of the tournament a year ago. You almost knocked out San Lorenzo in the semi-finals. Can you repeat it?

"That was something exceptional. We are a very humble team. This year we have some players who are a little different. We lost important players after last year's World Cup. Now we are younger and less experienced. I don't know how we'll respond."

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