FC Barcelona director Jordi Cruyff gave an interview to RAC1 on Tuesday, during which he discussed the future of some of the current players in the squad as well as the possibility of bringing back legends like Lionel Messi and Pep Guardiola to the club in the future.
The Blaugrana are going through a rebuild under manager Xavi Hernandez, who was brought in as manager in November last year. While there has been progress under the club legend in domestic competitions, the Catalans have failed to hit the brief in the UEFA Champions League.
It had led to question marks over Xavi and his suitability, but Cruyff insisted that the plans with the 42-year-old are not short-term and that he is at the helm of affairs with a medium to long-term vision.
“The initial plan of the club and Xavi himself was not thinking about the short term, but in the medium and long term,“ Cruyff said.
Over the past few months, there has been plenty of talk about Messi’s possible return to Spotify Camp Nou when his contract with PSG expires at the end of the season.
The former captain’s bad relationship with Joan Laporta makes things tricky for a reunion, while his salary could be a major hurdle as well, as pointed out by La Liga president Javier Tebas recently.
But Cruyff is of the opinion that there should be some reconciliation and some form o reunion between Messi and Barcelona even if it happens after his playing career.
“What I made clear to the president as well is that there has to be an affinity for a legend like him. Barcelona and Messi must meet again. It may be after his career. They both deserve it,” he said.
Laporta, upon his election as president last year, approached former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola over a possible return to the club but it came to nothing eventually. The Manchester City boss, though, recently insisted that he could be open to coming back to the club in the future.
When asked about that possibility, Cruyff said: “He represents an era as a coach. He has reached the level of being able to choose his own destiny. There are very few who get to this point. This is every professional’s dream.
“Whether he returns to Barcelona or not? I have no idea. I think he is very happy at City.”
Cruyff also spoke about the latest breakthrough star at Barcelona in Alejandro Balde. Just 19 years of age, the left-back has become a key member of Xavi’s setup at Camp Nou and is currently with Spain at the FIFA World Cup 2022.
And the Barcelona director confirmed that talks are underway over Balde’s reunion, saying: “We are happy with his development, we have been working on renewing his contract for a long time and the relationship with his agents is perfect. The player is grateful to Barcelona and Barcelona is grateful to him.”
Touching upon the subject of Sergio Busquets’ future, Cruyff insisted that the club captain had earned the right to decide what is next for him when he feels right as the 34-year-old inches closer to the expiry of his contract.
“The player will decide his future when his contract expires, no one else. We will have special treatment with him. We’ll sit down and see how he feels.”
However, Cruyff insisted that Busquets will have to take into consideration the demands of a huge club like Barcelona where fans want the best in every game and are quick to criticise if things do not go well.
“You play four bad games and people throw you down. That’s something you have to take into account when deciding,” he said.
Cruyff also spoke of the situation with defender Ronald Araujo and his selection for the World Cup squad by Uruguay, confirming that there had been disagreements with the South American nation.
“He underwent surgery by a reputable foreign doctor, who set some deadlines and a plan of action. Barcelona want to respect these deadlines.
“The most important thing is that there is communication. We don’t always agree, but we keep in contact with them. Above all we try to make sure there are no risks for the player,” he said.
Cruyff also confirmed that there was no agreement between Barça and Uruguay about when Araujo can return and insisted that his recovery will dictate when he is back playing. “There is no agreement with them. His comeback depends solely on his development.”
The Barcelona director also spoke highly of his compatriot and Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, claiming that his talent is unquestionable, although the different demands placed on him at club level and international level may have an effect on his performances.
“His talent is indisputable. We all agree on that, inside and outside Barça, but he has had different roles at Ajax, the national team and Barça. What he is asked to do in each place is different, that’s obvious,” he said.
Cruyff also confirmed that, as things stand, Barcelona are not in a position to make any new signings in the January window even if they sell one player as the situation is much messier.
“Right now we could not sign in the winter market. It’s not just a matter of selling a player, it’s more complicated than that,” he said.