Barcelona suffering a less than smooth succession

If there’s one thing La Liga Loca turns its oversized nose up at, it’s gossip, tittle-tattle and unsubstantiated rumours.

Actually, the blog is lying right through its belly button here. LLL loves all three and has a sworn duty to regale readers of such stories when they appear on the Spanish street. So, LLL is going to do its duty and report what is currently being bandied about in bars in relation to Barcelona, even though most may well be a whole lot of baloney.

The last time LLL left the Catalan camp, the club was apparently undergoing a smooth passage into its post-Pep world by appointing club No.2 Tito Vilanova as the new main man, with his predecessor’s blessing. Well, a story in El Mundo last week reported that Guardiola apparently had no idea about the plan to pick Vilanova, wanted someone else entirely and was only informed of the move on the morning he held his press conference announcing his departure.

The story goes that he asked Sandro Rosell to hold off on the announcement until he could speak to his friend. Instead, the new appointment was confirmed soon after Pep’s future was revealed. The article also gives further details on an apparently acrimonious relationship between club president and Pep in the final weeks of the current manager’s tenure.

At this point it’s worth mentioning that Barcelona have said this is all hogwash and nonsense and are looking at taking legal action against El Mundo for the story. But it isn’t a massive secret that the relationship between Guardiola and Rosell has never been as warm and fuzzy as the one shared by the now ex-Barça boss and Joan Laporta, who Rosell replaced after the 2010 elections. This coldness certainly hasn’t been helped by Barcelona’s current regime taking Laporta and his former board to court over alleged losses made during his tenure at the club, as well as banishing Johan Cruyff from the scene.

Poking his nose into what is turning out to be a stormy transition from Pep to Tito is the shy-and-retiring Laporta himself, a figure who had been off doing local political things, but who hasn’t ruled out returning to the Barcelona scene, claiming that Rosell has ruined all his good work over the past two years. “Perhaps I should start planning,” mused Laporta at the beginning of the month on running for president again.

The former president’s gripe is that Rosell has not taken care of the relationship with the Spanish FA, which has led to the lack of penalties going Barcelona’s way, apparently, while he has also suggested that the appointment of Tito Vilanova was “a panic decision” so as not to “receive the full social impact of not having done more to keep Guardiola.”

Naturally, Laporta is hardly a disinterested party in the whole affair, and nor is the likes of el Mundo, with even supposedly proper papers in Spain having political reasons for being pro or anti certain clubs and presidents, far from the world of sport.

This story has overshadowed Barcelona’s preparations for Friday’s Copa del Rey final, with the relationship between Pep and Tito being the first topic for players when probed by the media.

“It hurts as in the dressing room we knew the relationship is good,” said Cesc Fabregas, another member of the team trying to deflect what is being perceived as false negative attention and a deliberate distraction ahead of Pep’s farewell at the Vicente Calderón.