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31.07.2009 13:05

“He showed how to win with a smile”


Those are the words of Gica Popescu, captain of FC Barcelona in the 96/97 season, who Bobby Robson brought from Romania to Holland and later made captain of Barça.

Gica Popescu and José Ramón Alexanco were both part of Robson’s team at FC Barcelona, the former on the field, the latter on the bench. Speaking to the club today, they remembered the Englishman’s qualities, both in a sporting and personal sense.

A true gent

POPESCU.jpgHaving learned today of the death of Bobby Robson, the Barça captain during his year as manager of the club, Gica Popescu, has spoken about the great man. “He was an exceptional person, a true gentleman who won some very important titles with all of his teams”.

“He showed you could win with a smile, not just shouting”, explained Gica Popescu in reference to Robson’s affable and respectful nature. “He always spoke well of his players and with a smile, it was always the image he gave. It is very hard to find managers like him.”


“The best thing that ever happened to me in football was becoming captain of FC Barcelona and it was he who made me captain. I owe that honour to Bobby Robson” said the Romanian.

Popescu always had a very special relationship with Robson: “It was him, in 1990, who brought me from Romania to play for PSV Eindhoven. We won two titles there, and in his year at Barça we won 3 of the 4 titles at stake”.

On the bench with Alexanco

SUPERCOPA_DxESPANYA_1996-LA_PEINETA_x2x.jpgThe current youth football coordinator at FC Barcelona, José Ramón Alexanco, was third manager in that season of 96/97. He worked alongside Bobby Robson, who he remembers as “a man that everyone loved, he had a sensational way of dealing with football and everybody around him”.

“He put together one of the best squads Barça has ever had, we won several titles, but he couldn’t continue the work he was doing for long because of the arrival of Van Gaal”.
“He showed how to win with a smile”

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Pragmatic football
“Despite all the titles he won, he was unfortunate at Barcelona. He came after a spectacular period under Johan Cruyff. The fans couldn’t accept the pragmatic football he went in for. People like spectacular football here, using a 4-3-3 system like the one used by Pep Guardiola”, said Popescu in reference to the season that Robson coached Barça.

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