Ahead of Barcelona’s clash against Ajax Amsterdam, the ongoing feud between club president Sandro Rosell and club legend, Johan Cruyff, has cast a pall over the Camp Nou.
The match- surprisingly the first ever between the two teams- should have been a celebration of the philosophical lineage linking Rinus Michels, Cruyff and Pep Guardiola together.
It was from Ajax that Barca inherited their tradition of keeping and passing the ball, and so tonight’s game should have represented a meeting of two of the greatest, and most successful, ideologies in modern football.
Instead, focus has been drawn away from the beautiful game by the ugly spat between former player and manager Cruyff, who is allied to ex-Barca president Joan Laporta, and current Barca head honcho Rosell.
The tiresome twosome have been at loggerheads for a number of seasons now, and Rosell told Mundo Deportivo that he thinks Cruyff us trying to divide barcelonismo, or the spirit of unity at the club.
Rosell also alleges that Cruyff refused an invitation to attend the pre-game meal shared by representatives of Barca and Ajax, but that he was actually pleased not to see him there.
“It will be difficult to unite all barcelonismo, above all the cruyffistas,” Rosell said.
“As president I feel bad that he does not come to the directors lunch before the game, but as a person, no.”
In response, Cruyff has said that he hopes Ajax wins the game, and has insisted that he will not be a guest of Barcelona until Rosell’s tenure as president is over.
However, he has denied that he is trying to divide Barca, and has hinted that he thinks Rosell is mentally unstable!
"Rosell talking about cruyffismo being divisive is absurd,” he said.
“We are all with Barca. Everything else is mental problems.”