‘Losing Tito was the worst’

Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu has reflected on season 2013-14 and says there was no worse moment than the death of Tito Vilanova.

Vilanova passed away in April after suffering from cancer, less than a year after guiding La Blaugrana to the title.

He was also assistant to Pep Guardiola during Barca’s highly successful era, and, speaking on Onda Cero, Bartomeu said Vilanova’s passing was the hardest moment of a turbulent year.

“This year we’ve seen a lot of things we’ve never seen at our club. The worst was Tito. That was very hard,” he said.

Bartomeu also discussed the decision to part company with Tata Martino and appoint Luis Enrique.

“With Tata we arrived at a mutual agreement. It was a mature decision,” he revealed.

“I appreciate that Tata said it was ok that we looked for a new Coach.

“He told us he was very glad to have been at Barcelona.

“When Luis Enrique left, we said it was only a goodbye. He has a very clear idea of the play of Barcelona.

“We didn’t reach this year’s objectives but the dream continues.

“Pep Guardiola is still a great Coach. I know they are very happy with him at Bayern Munich.”

Talk turned to players currently within the Barca squad, with Bartomeu also discussing transfers both in and out of Camp Nou.

“Our team has cracks. We have so many great players that half the world wants them, but we won’t sell,” he said.

“When we signed Dani Alves people said it was very expensive but now you realise it was spectacular.

“It’s normal for everyone to notice Cesc Fabregas but we don’t want to sell.

“Javier Mascherano is a key player for us on the field and in the locker room.

“Neymar has done what was asked of him. He must be one of the five or six best in the world and he’ll grow more.

“Xavi has two more years on the road and the Coach will think about his future. If he wants to stay then next year he’ll be at Barcelona.

“Lionel Messi had a long injury and a break and a player like him doesn’t normally get injured.

“I hope Leo has a good World Cup. We want it to be very good. But he doesn’t pick the players or the Coach.”

Barca’s eternal enemy Real Madrid were raised and Bartomeu was asked for his thoughts on La Decima and the chance of ever signing a player from Los Blancos.

“If the Barca Coach likes a Madrid player then it can happen, but I don’t see it. I think we’re on different paths,” he said.

“Congratulations to Madrid, who make great champions. We’re happy for them because they have won La Decima after waiting for so long.”

The subject of Presidential elections was brought up and Bartomeu repeated his stance that there would not be a vote held now.

“I understand there are people who think elections should be held but it was done in 2010 and the project is still alive,” he argued.

“In 2016 I intend to stand for re-election.”

Tags Bartomeu Tito Vilanova