Sunday, May 2, 2010

Laporta: "We stayed true to the Cruyff philosophy"

Barcelona president Joan Laporta gave an interview to Spanish newspaper Público.

There are elections coming up at the club. In June, at least two, maybe three, candidacies that have a chance to win and that come from your board will face each other. Why did those colleagues left?
That's life. One thing is clear, I have maintained a consistent line and I have defended a model that was built on some principles: 'more than a club' in the social area, the youth academy and Cruyff in the sports area and to not spend more than we receive and to add value to the assets in the economic area. The group of Sandro Rosell, who were the first to leave, were victims of the crisis of growth because of their high level of immaturity. They are spoiled and resentful people. Later, we had a different situation when facing the most difficult moment, that of the vote of no confidence, when although having overcome a group of colleagues left because of the high pressure. I understand the majority of them because it's dificult to deal with the pressure. But Soriano, Murtra and Vicens took advantage of that situation to try to occupy my place and I ended up feeling that they betrayed me. I've always defended my people above all and I cannot understand that people whom I had defended fiercely abandoned the ship at a key moment. In any case, when Sandro and his people left they predicted the apocalypse and one should just look at the trophies we have won. And regarding the second group who left, the model has continued even more strongly and we have achieved the best season in the history of Barça, and there is more to come. Those who are there now have been consistent with the values and principles that define the current model of the club. We have managed to build the model, to resist the difficulties and to take the right decisions so that Barça continues to live the best period in its history.

And when you leave, you will be able to ensure the continuity?
My current board colleagues are those who can do that best because they have never showed any vanity and have always been faithful to the model, which isn't the case of those who have left, although - I repeat - the first group that left isn't the same as the second.

We have the candidacy of Rosell, possibly that of Marc Ingla, another former vice-president who could get the support of Soriano, and that of Jaume Ferrer, who you now see as your successor. Will your model be reviewed?
Everyone has chances of winning. I talk about the continuity of the model and that can only be guaranteed by the candidacy that includes a wide majority of the members of this board, those who have arrived at this point. I have not yet heard none of the two groups you talk about explain what they will do, say what is their alternative. Rosell gave up because he thought that the Cruyff model in terms of football and the management model weren't right. He questioned Begiristain and Rijkaard, who won two league titles and one Champions League and who passed on to Guardiola. The consistent line is the one I have headed. When we decided to appoint Guardiola as coach, Soriano and Ingla wanted Mourinho. We chose Guardiola because that decision was more consistent with the style we wanted and not because of a matter of record, as was defended by those who wanted Mourinho. I don't know what Ingla will do, but I think he should present another model, because they didn't believe in the current one, his model was that of Mourinho. And Rosell nor Ingla shared the idea of the Unicef sponsorship, that in my opinion has been a highly successful decision and excellent for the image of the club. They should explain us what they will do because we have now built a model that has led us to be recognized as the best club in the world and changing that would be foolhardy.

Appointing Guardiola has been the best decision you have taken?
The best sporting decision has been to stay true to the Cruyff philosophy. And that has led us to keep Txiki as sports director which is given his whole record the best sports decision I have taken until now. Based upon his advice we have made decisions like the one to appoint Pep Guardiola as coach, who is doing amazingly well and who if he continues like this will become the best decision of all. But the best teams need continuity and therefore we need to keep on winning.

And that is not too much pressure for Guardiola?
No. Guardiola and the players have the pressure that is usual at Barça. And we don't just talk about winning titles but about being the best. You can take away pressure from the coach and the players when you have a president who makes decisions, who faces up, takes the lead and deals with the difficulties. Our responsibility is to do everything possible to leave a footprint and to do that you need calmness. The next president will find the best Barça in history and that is why I want this model to continue. As a club member I want the club to continue on this path of success and in my opinion this is only guaranteed by my colleagues of the current board, who have been able to make the right decisions even if they were unpopular, who have been able to resist in the most difficult moments and who have served Barça with enthusiasm and responsibility.

this was the first part of this interview. you will be able to read the second part on this blog in the coming days with laporta looking back at his seven years in office.

Read more:
Ferrer doesn't want Laporta to campaign
New developments regarding Ronaldinho commission
Laporta not considering to return in the future

interview: josep carles rius - ferran casas