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09.11.2009 13:30

Cruyff receives Barça’s blessing


It was confirmed today (Monday) at the official presentation of Johan Cruyff as the new team manager of Catalonia that he will be free to call up players from FC Barcelona.

At a ceremony in the Palau de Congressos on Monday, Johan Cruyff was officially designated head coach of Catalonia in front of some 150 reporters.

2009-11-09_PRESENTACION_JOHAN_CRUYFF_SELECCIONADOR_CATALAN_001.JPGThe Technical Director of the Catalan FA, Xavi Torres also revealed that he had been in talks with his opposite number in FC Barcelona, Txiki Begiristain, and had received assurances that whenever the Club’s commitments permitted, that Barça players would be available for selection for Catalonia.

Satisfied with Barça

Cruyff was, predictably, asked about Barça and in particular whether they were underperforming at the moment: “We should avoid talking about Barça right now because it’s time to talk about the new policy of the Catalan FA. I’m proud of the way they’re playing and that they are achieving so much”. The fact is that Barça are due to play a friendly in Kuwait on 21st December, the day before Catalonia may also have a match. According to Cruyff: “It’s one of those complications. The players are professionals and are proud to play with the national team”.

"I want to build a competitive team"

2009-11-09_PRESENTACION_JOHAN_CRUYFF_SELECCIONADOR_CATALAN_023.JPGCruyff has no doubts about how to take the Catalan team forward. “Our style of play will depend, logically, on the quality of the players we have. We’ll try and play attractive football. I want to play the best in the world. I want to build a competitive team”. And he’s delighted with the raw material he has seen in the youth squads of both Catalan first division teams, Barça and Espanyol: “A really good team can be built. The youth football of both FC Barcelona and Espanyol is very good".

But he also believes that the fans have a big role to play in making every game involving Catalonia “a national festival”. He added: “Recently, this aspect has not been a success”.

The importance of solidarity and training

2009-11-09_PRESENTACION_JOHAN_CRUYFF_SELECCIONADOR_CATALAN_015.JPGTurning to the wider issues of the agreement between the Catalan FA and Johan Cruyff, Mr Torres explained that the emphasis was on training and solidarity. In these areas the Johan Cruyff university and Foundation will take a leading part. Accord to Cruyff: "Sport has an important role in integrating people into society. I’m very proud to be able to train and also to educate. What I’m doing now is for the children”.
Cruyff receives Barça’s blessing

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Looking for opponents
Mr Torres also revealed that Catalonia was trying to find more opponents: “We negotiated with Holland but for one reason or another it didn’t come off”. He admitted that it was a boost having Cruyff’s name so closely linked to the project. “It’s an advantage. Everyone knows him but not everyone knows the Catalan national team”. Finally, Cruyff was positive about the possibility of playing Diego Maradona’s Argentina, featuring Leo Messi.

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