opinions | 2015-03-28
The exploitation of Tito Vilanova
The lack of morals and decency are tarnishing the club once again
How life can twist and turn! We shouldn’t forget that when Laporta became club president, Sandro Rosell was sporting vice-president. One of his first acts at Barça was to undertake a major overhaul of the youth teams. At that moment, Tito was managing the best youth team in the club’s history, a team which included Leo Messi, Gerard Piqué and Cesc Fàbregas. Well, Tito Vilanova was fired from the club by Josep Colomer, right hand man of Sandro Rosell and, later on, director general of the Aspire Academy in Qatar.
Ever since that accursed day, 25th April 2014, Tito Vilanova’s memory has been used for everything. Or, more precisely, previously, his name was used as a shield or a spear, according to the specific interests. Let us remember the quote from the then spokesman of the board which was still governed by the escaped/resigned president Alexandre Rosell I Feliu, and who, today, has simply become a mouthpiece, Toni Freixa: “Tito is winning all the comparisons with Guardiola, even in human terms”. That quote was said shortly after the president elect-resigned-escaped announced for no apparent reason that he would seek re-election after three years. His name has been used to put down Guardiola’s work consistently ever since the Santpedor coach left the club.
A few days after Tito’s death, an assistant director at a sports newspaper in Barcelona used the manager’s name to defend this board’s absurd project of creating an “encouragement stand”, the very stand which has caused so many headaches for Jordi Cardoner, in particular.
At the beginning of this year, with the release of the documentaries about Tito and Johan Cruyff (you only have to watch the credits to understand things), the same newspaper ran the headline: “Tito Vilanova beats Johan Cruyff”. Either way, it was of some use: they have used his memory to rage against anyone or anything who doesn’t agree with them.
Yesterday, thanks to information provided by Cadena Ser, we had the opportunity to listen to part of the statement given by the man who is still the club’s president, Josep María Bartomeu, on February 13th of this year, before Judge Pablo Ruz in the National Court. According to what he said, Bartomeu attributes the decision to bring Neymar’s arrival at the club forward by a year to Tito Vilanova. And he does it on three different occasions. And this, according to Bartomeu, is what drove the player’s signing up by €42m and made the board simulate contracts. Bartomeu, under questioning from the Judge, prosecutor Perals and the state attorney, denied having been involved in the negotiations and claimed that Tito Vilanova was the one who wanted to move the signing forward.
It’s logical that nobody wants to sit in the defendant’s chair, but hiding behind the request of a manager who, at that time, was very ill is an astonishing low to sink to. In no case has anyone questioned the signing of Neymar, nor the reasons the coaches were interested, or even the interest of the board (especially by some of its members) under whom it took place. What is being questioned is how the deal was formalised. Why are socios being deceived on a regular basis? Why is a penalty paid for something which favours the person who claims it? Why are there contracts in which payments are made for doing nothing and nothing is gained in return? These, Mr Bartomeu, are the questions which you are not answering, apart from placing the blame on your predecessor and the club’s executives. A president should be more than someone who simply travels kilometres to go out for dinner or visits Penyas (Official Barcelona Fan Clubs) just before elections are held.
Quotes from Bartomeu’s speech:
“Tito was already sick and we went to visit him in New York. The manager said ‘if you can, bring the player a year earlier’.”
“This happened in February 2014, they had operated on him and he was undergoing chemotherapy.” “I didn’t take part in any previous negotiations either with Santos or with the player’s father. Sandro Rosell was the one who led the negotiations.”
“The directors aren’t responsible. We don’t give instructions for it to be counted up one way or another. This is the responsibility of the director general and the executive team.”
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