Friday, January 1, 2010

Godall: "Laporta is like a brother to me"

Barcelona first vice-president Alfons Godall gave an interview to Catalan sports paper Sport.

How do you feel about being called the heir? Do you like the word?
It's not like that. Barça is a democratic institution and the president will be he who wins the trust of the club members. This is not a matter of a dynasty but about an exercise of democracy and the club member will decide who wins. In any case, the standard is very high.

And how will you take on this challenge?
You said it, it's a challenge. It's the responsibility of the board to have the resources to make it possible that the teams can count on quality people. The choice for Txiki [and] Guardiola [...] has put us in a situation of success. We have to try to do even better or to always win all titles.

Would you add new elements compared to Laporta?
These elections are a great opportunity to add some new fire to the project. There are people who will continue but there will be others who want to join in or who have been at the club. This project of experience must raise expectations because the course of the continuation of the project can give us many more moments of joy.

A deal with Soriano is possible?
Together with him, we did a good job. We have met and talked about Barça but it wasn't about bringing our positions closer. These elections should be an opportunity to overcome disagreements or clashes of personalities and we should make these elections a chance to restore the harmony among Barcelona people. It is possible that one day I will again talk with Ferran and his people.

What worries you about Rosell?
His project includes a model that is different than the current model. It will be a project based on personality cult while I prefer to talk about a team. I remember very well how in november 2003 he wanted to dismiss Rijkaard, who later gave us two league titles and the Champions League. With him, it will be more difficult to talk about the future or collaboration because his idea of Barça is different from mine. Furthermore, it wouldn't be good for Barça to change what is working by proposals that come from resentment.

Will it be a tense campaign?
Because of our personal profiles, we don't want a dirty, tense campaign. These are exciting elections in which the Barça model that has worked is at stake.

Are you personally prepared to deal with an increased popularity?
Catalunya lives at the rhythm of Barça and that implies a responsibility. When you go abroad, you see the passion that the team awakens and when you see the children you know that it is worthwhile for Barça and for Catalonia.

Do you think about counting on Laporta in one way or another?
He cannot run for president or be part of the next board. He is a respected figure in the world of international sports bodies. He's a reference as president and if one day Barça could have a delegate at the international sports bodies, as we once had Vilaseca [josep lluís vilaseca is a former barcelona director and member of the uefa and the spanish olympic committee], there wouldn't be a better option than Laporta.

Would you continue with this concept of a catalanist club as Laporta did?
Barça is a symbol of the Catalan society since its foundation. We practice a catalanism without complexes.

What do you think about the job of Txiki? Will he continue?
He has been unjustly criticized but within the club we appreciate his efforts to give continuity to our sports policy. To keep him and Pep is the best option to continue this way of working.

Could Laporta take a step back so you can assume a more prominent role?
He has the right to lead the club until 30 June 2010. I hope the transfer of power will happen then. When we will make our project public, we will work to let people know about it. Laporta must continue to govern and as president he should make sure that the elections are peaceful, neutral and exemplary. This is his intention. It's what he has to do because he deserves to finish his term in a normal way and history will judge him as the president of the best Barça in history.

What does he tell you? That you can do better than him?
He has many virtues and, like all of us, some shortcomings. He's all heart and he has lead the club into modernity. I hope for the advice and the love of the friend who I got to know in 1968 when we met at the elementary school in Barcelona. Since then, we've loved each other as brothers.

Can this friendship harm you? Do you mind that people say that Laporta will continue to be in charge?
You will see in the campaign that this won't be the case. I have my own strong personality, very different from that of Laporta. I'm calmer and more quiet.

Do you think it will be an election of two candidates, Rosell and you?
It's hard to tell. There are some questions left that should get an answer. We see ourselves as favourites no matter the circumstances. The club members will look at the situation the club is living now, and not only regarding the football team but also in basketball, handball or futsal.

In the assets department there seem to be the most loose ends. What are your plans there?
A new state-of-the-art Palau [home to the basketball, handball, roller hockey, and futsal sections] and the serious remodeling of the Camp Nou according to the Foster design. This depends on what will happen with the reclassification of Miniestadi zone. I must express a complaint here because it's a process in which we have experienced too many obstacles and conditions that go beyond what they would ask from others. There will any way be a reclassification. We will also finish the training centre in Sant Joan Despi, among other things. There are many projects ongoing.

this was the second and last part of this interview. you can read the first part here.

Read more:
Godall and Ferrer to meet next week
Perrin: "Ferrer could accept being the second man"
The five vice-presidents of Godall

interview: joan vehils and albert masnou