Barça director Vilajoana: "We won't use academy to make money"

Xavier Vilajoana spoke to SPORT about a number of issues to do with the club

Xavier Vilajoana descartó que se vayan a utilizar los jugadores más prometedores de la cantera para hacer caja | Rubén Moreno

German Bona

Barcelona director Xavier Vilajoana's importance at the club has increased in recent months. Since April, he's been the person in charge of overseeing the B team, the academy and the women's team. Previously, his principal focus was on La Masia. 

Vilajoana, who himself came through Barça's academy, sat down with SPORT to talk about a number of issues surrounding the club. 

Has Barça B coach Garcia Pimienta responded to the new contract offer yet?

Not yet but I don't think there will be a problem reaching an agreement.

Why only one year plus one more with variables?

Above all to give as much consistency to the development (if the team as possible). They're all variables based on development, not results or promotion. He has given us a lot, but you have to earn it. Also, next summer there will be elections. 

Barça B are in the third division playoffs will Ansu and Riqui Puig be involved?

I would like them to be because they need to compete, but maybe not if they have a lot of minutes in the first team.

Do B team signings depend on promotion?

No, there will be very few regardless. It will be one of the youngest B teams in history, the same with the U19s. 

Will you sign Gustavo Maia?

We will fulfil the agreement we had. He's really skillful and could give us a big boost.

Does first-team coach Setién rate the academy?

I think so, yes. But he has the best players to pick from. Down here, we have to work really hard so that the youngsters get given an opportunity and take advantage of it. They have to show their teammates in the first team that they are up to it. 

What did you think when Setien said right now they don't convince?

That we must do better. No criticism, the opposite. The last step always must be taken by the players. We can't hope that a B team player will jump above the best in the world in two days. 

Manchester United went big on Ansu...

For us, there's no story with Ansu, we have never spoken about selling him. We won't use players from the academy to make cash. In principle, we have no intention of selling the players we believe will make the first team.

Will you have to give him a professional deal just to make sure?

I think he's happy. He will be an important player in the coming years.

What's happening with Riqui Puig. Too much expectation?

He is a special player but like all special players, he has to improve where he's not so special. He has a lot of qualities, but there are also things to improve, and I am convinced the first team boss knows that. We will end up with a great player. 

Is it best to go out on loan?

That depends on all parties at the end and on many things, such as the moment of the player's maturation.

Pedri, Trincao... what they have cannot be found in La Masia?

It's not that, but they're really good. And they will have to earn (their place) all the same.

Is another Balon d'Or podium of Messi-Xavi-Iniesta unrepeatable?

Messi is unrepeatable, we will never see another like him, but we're in a good moment, doing things well and we will begin to see results.

Will you sign Rayo youngster Luzzi?

We hope so ... we always follow good players and he is, with goals.

How are the renewals going with the U19s?

Six or seven will go up to Barça B. The deals are 95 percent complete but we've not been able to sign them. We wll do so in Phase 3. Konrad, Tenas, Nils... in the men's section alone we have 52 contract renewals!

But the U16 Marc Jurado will go to Manchester United...

Eight will go straight into the U19s from the U16s. The bet on the academy is serious and we have renewed deals by convincing them, not going crazy. But yes, he's one of those that could leave... 

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