Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, speaking to Catalan television today, felt compelled to issue a denial.
On Friday, former coach Pep Guardiola claimed Barça’s board, and specifically Rosell, had said the former Blaugrana boss failed to visit Tito Vilanova when the current head coach was undergoing cancer treatment last year in New York. The fact the Guardiola had spend much of his year off on the Hudson combined with the duo’s long-time friendship to make the claim particularly salacious, prompting the current Bayern Munich man to speak out.
But according to Rosell, the story was false to begin with, the Barcelona president denied the story to which Guardiola was responding ever happened. Per MARCA:
“What he said about the board is completely untrue”, Rosell stated.
“We were all shocked by his comments. You can check the records if you want to see what we’ve said about the best coach in the club’s history”, the Barcelona president argued.
“I’m surprised by his comments, because when you make an accusation, you have to back it up. We would never use Tito’s illness, that’s what I don’t understand”, he added.
Rosell could have left it at that, distancing himself and the club from what was becoming a feud. Or if Rosell was intent on trying to tarnish Guardiola, he could have escalated. But he did neither, instead reaffirming the team’s admiration of a man who led them to two Champions League titles:
“This commotion isn’t good for Barça, but it shouldn’t tarnish his extraordinary time at the club and his achievement of winning so many trophies with home-grown lads”.
“I call on the Barça supporters to learn from the past and remember what happened during Johan’s time, when the club was split into pro-Cruyff and anti-Cruyff camps. I don’t want there to be pro-Guardiola fans and anti-Guardiola fans. I want all Barça members to continue to admire Guardiola as a living Barcelona legend”.
That such platitudes are even needed speaks to the point this controversy’s evolved, but after Rosell took the high road, hopefully it will die down. If Guardiola really does Barcelona to just leave him alone, it looks like Rosell’s ready to do so.