Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has called former coach Pep Guardiola’s attack on the club hierarchy last month “a surprise”, and insists there was not a hint of truth in any of the Bayern Munich boss’ statement.
Guardiola hit out at the board of his former club in July for refusing to grant him the "peace" he had requested when walking away from the Camp Nou in 2012.
The former Spain international also spoke of his anger towards Rosell for suggesting that he had not made an effort to see Tito Vilanova while he was in New York for cancer treatment. Vilanova, for his part, then confirmed he had been upset not to receive his friend’s support.
Rosell, speaking to Sport on Sunday, is adamant that the Spanish champions have done nothing wrong and believes Guardiola does not have the evidence to back up his claims.
Asked about the remarks, he said: “They are a surprise. Everything he says is false. There is no argument or evidence for it. I put it down to someone poisoning Pep’s mind, but he allowed himself to be poisoned.
“All that said, it’s a drop in the ocean. His history of Barcelona is so great that it’s not something we have to consider. We have to move on. If he could, he would take it back as well.”
Barca recently travelled to Munich to play Bayern in the Uli Hoeness Cup, and Rosell said he was surprised that Guardiola’s relationship with his former players “seemed cold”, as the newspaper put it.
“Yes, it makes you wonder,” he said. “Maybe it was just the timing. In a year, the relationships with his former players will be different. You have to let the water run down the river.”
Rosell also discussed the appointment of the club’s new coach, Gerardo Martino, indicating that the Argentine is the perfect fit for the Blaugrana.
“It is not necessarily the case that the strongest Catholic is the one that has been to the Vatican,” he said. “Many people with very strong Catholic beliefs have not been there and there are many people who’ve been to the Vatican who aren’t Catholic.
“This is comparable to La Masia [Barca’s training facilities]. You don’t have to have grown up in La Masia to have Barca DNA. You can have Barca DNA without having been to La Masia. This is the case with ‘Tata’ Martino.”
He said Luis Enrique, now of Celta Vigo, was not the first choice to replace Vilanova and that sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta had been the driving force behind appointing Martino.
“There are many people who know about football around the world who have a good opinion of him,” he said. “It was Zubi’s thing. He analysed all the options, including some who were not originally considered because things had changed, and chose ‘Tata’ Martino.”
Martino was given the top job at the club after his predecessor, Vilanova, was forced to step down in order to receive treatment for cancer.
Rosell recalled the time at which he first discovered that the coach would be unable to continue in his role.
“It was the worst news I’ve received as a president. First of all on the human level — it’s something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy — but also on a sporting level as we were faced with the problem of choosing his replacement.
“It was a difficult task because Tito was the best coach for the club at that time.”