Zubizarreta: There was no plan B

Andoni Zubizarreta has explained the process of replacing Tito Vilanova and says that Gerardo Martino ‘will listen and bring ideas’ to Barcelona.

Today saw Martino presented as Vilanova’s replacement, preceded by the sporting director’s recount of events leading up to the decision made.

“About 10 days ago, Tuesday last week, when Sandro [Rosell] told me the situation with Tito Vilanova’s health, since then we began to work on the all the options that we had,” explained Zubizarreta today.

“The feeling that we first had was one of great pain, it was difficult in the first 24 hours of looking for a new Coach to comply with our requirements, as everything in my head was about Tito.

“At this point we considered all the possible candidates and the impossible ones, and during this process the name of Tata came up.

“Then we tried to meet each other, but it was difficult. We spoke a lot over the phone, a lot of hours over the phone in this process, as we looked for a Coach with the right philosophy that would integrate into the Barca system.

“In the last five or six years, Barca’s style of play has been shown all over the world and we know that many teams want to be like Barca. The idea I got from Tata most was his willingness to listen and learn but also bring his own ideas to this.

“And with this idea, of working with him, we all decided at the club that he was the best option at this time for Barcelona.

“He listened to us well, it wasn’t easy for him to receive this kind of phone call in July, to run one of the best clubs in the world, it’s a challenge. It is a challenge for him to put himself in front of those players.

“In our conversations we had he has been very open and we got the idea that he would work well with us.

“Welcome to you Tata, it is a big challenge and we hope with you we can achieve our targets.”

Zubizarreta was asked of Martino was Barcelona’s first choice replacement, or a plan B.

“The situation that we were in, there was no plan B, we considered other possibilities and ideas but in a more general scale.

“We had to look at what was in the market for us and we had to move within those parameters. We looked at who would fit in best, we looked at Martino’s profile and considered that he was best suited. He was the best option.

“Messi had nothing to do with his signing.”

It was also asked how quickly Barca determined that Martino was the right man.

“These past few days felt like they lasted 72 hours, it’s just a continuous process, you consider everything, you’re thinking at night, I was thinking of what’s best for the team, thinking about Tito, giving him space for his own situation.

“We had all of this information, all of these conversations. I think it was quick, I sat down with [Vice President Josep Maria] Bartomeu and we decided that he was the right option. The meeting was only an hour-and-a-half, but process has felt like a long time.”

The topic of transfer reinforcements was brought up more than once.

“I’m not going to give names, I’m not going to change my habits just because we have a new Coach.

“We have spoken about what we can in the short time we have been with Maritno, we will sit down in the next few days.”

Zubizarreta also fielded questions on the current technical staff at the club and if they, including assistants Jordi Roura and Rubi, would face changes.

“We are going to look at how we are going to work together, all of us, with a definition of roles, and at the moment we have decided, we will tell you.”

Thiago Alcantara hit out at Barca for their lack of effort in convincing him to stay at the club.

“Well, before the UEFA Under-21 Championship, Tito and myself spoke to him, what our expectations were and where we thought he would be, whilst we didn’t need to explain what Barca was to him.

“Then he took the decision that he took. We have Cristian Tello, who has players in front of him, and he has said he wants to stay and we are looking at increasing his contract.

“Thiago took the decision that he took and we respect that. We wish him the best at Bayern.”

Tags Martino Thiago Zubizarreta