Sandro Rosell has admitted that he didn’t imagine Barcelona’s first half of the season would be so good, even if he had early faith in Tito Vilanova.
In taking over from Pep Guardiola in the summer, the former assistant Coach has taken Barca to a League record points tally for the first half of the season, with the team having only dropped two points from a possible 57 so far.
“It’s a beautiful moment for all Catalans. It is a work of many years, a collective pride of many people,” President Rosell reflected in talking to Rac 1 today.
“We have seen that this path began 33 years ago in La Masia and its success has given us this reward.
“I did not think it would be so good this season. I saw this sincerely because Zubizarreta spoke yesterday that at a statistical level it is very difficult to achieve these figures.
“I did not dream of this, but I thought the team would be fine and up there. Yes, I thought Tito would be the leader he is proving to be.
“His appointment was done naturally. Pep was leaving and we looked for the best replacement. Zubizarreta considered the second Coach during those 14 titles for Guardiola and said Tito.
“The decision was correct. Tito is still a surprise to the people who did not know him before. But for us, no.”
Rosell discussed a number of issues with Rac 1 and revealed that Manchester City have made attempts in the past to sign people from Barca, at all levels of the club.
“There have been some approaches from City, at all levels of the structure of the club, but no-one wants to go.
“They wanted to fish here but there were no fish left. Players and executives have been targeted. We don't see it as important, it's not only City, it's a lot of clubs.”
The President was also asked of Barca’s relationship with Real Madrid at this time.
“It is difficult to maintain a good relationship with your direct rival. It is very difficult because many good things for us are not good for them.
“Truthfully there is an episode that I did not like [March 2011 saw Madrid reported as prepared to testify against Barca for alleged doping offences, although Barca later commented through spokesman Toni Freixa that they were satisfied Madrid were uninvolved] and they could have acted differently in.
“When we make a complaint or not, it is in accordance with the sporting side. The priority is the sporting aspect.”
Rosell was also asked for his latest view on the developing issue over Victor Valdes’ proposed contract renewal.
“He is a person with a strong character, which he needs in order to do his job. He has had little trouble and has what he has in order to do well. I think he will finish his career here. That is my dream. We do not seek an alternative or anything. But the club is above everything. No-one is indispensable.”
Neymar has commented recently that he does not have a pre-contract signed to join the club from Santos, in contrary to what was otherwise believed.
“He has a contract with Santos until after the 2014 World Cup and then we will see what happens with the accounts presented by the club, we have a transparency.
“And sometimes that ends up costing the club money. Let’s leave it here. I’m not technical, but he conforms to the style of Barca. It is unclear if he leaves Brazil that he joins Barcelona.”