Joan Laporta has taken his first decisive step as FC Barcelona's new president by appointing Txiki Begiristain, a member of Johan Cruyff's celebrated 1990s 'Dream Team', as his technical director.
Hiring and firing
Begiristain will work alongside Sandro Rossell, formerly a key figure in the Nike organisation in Spain, who has been appointed general director, with the responsibility of overseeing the operation. Together the pair will be responsible for the signing of players.
'He will be the man'
At Begiristain's wish, Laporta had kept the former player's appointment a secret until his victory in the presidential election was confirmed. But Laporta has now announced: "He will be the man."
The club's new management face a busy summer. At a meeting last night they discussed the details of coach Radomir Antic's contract as well as considering the position of Dutch internationals Phillip Cocu, Frank de Boer and Patrick Kluivert, and loan signings Gaizka Mendieta and Juan Pablo Sorín. In the case of Cocu and De Boer, their contracts expire at the end of this month.
Begiristain, who is 38, began his playing career with Real Sociedad, before signing for Barcelona in 1988. He was in the Barça side beaten by AC Milan in the 1994 UEFA Champions League final and that same summer played for Spain in the FIFA World Cup. The midfield man then joined RC Deportivo La Coruña. After a spell in the J League with Urawa Red Diamonds, he hung up his boots and has been working as a television commentator.
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