FC Barcelona expert Joan Vila Bosch: ‘Creating, not destroying’

– By Michael Burgess

The Youth Football Development Trust in partnership with ACFC were proud to host Joan Vila Bosch, Director of Methodology from FC Barcelona. Joan was in New Zealand to deliver two coaches clinic’s with an aim to coach New Zealand coaches with the latest methodological practices from FC Barcelona. Joan’s trip was part of the Youth Football Development Trust’s aim to continue to leave a lasting legacy for youth football.

Joan spent the afternoon with Michael Burgess, New Zealand Herald to discuss key elements of the methodology:

Joan Vila Bosch is a footballing missionary. He played with Johan Cruyff at FC Barcelona and, as a youth coach, helped shape the careers of Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas at the Nou Camp.

Now he is director of methodology at FC Barcelona, charged with ensuring continuity in the famed style of play and philosophy that has brought the club so much success in the past 12 seasons (seven La Liga titles, four Champions League triumphs, three Club World Cups).

Their style has been emulated across the globe with varying success and is the template for possession-based football. Many club and national teams want to play like FC Barcelona but Vila Bosch says there is no secret formula.

“A lot of people come to Barcelona and want to discover what we have done … how we are doing it,” says Vila Bosch. “It’s like they are looking for the formula for Coca-Cola, like this is something so simple. It’s not that simple.

“We have an idea and we are faithful to it but there is no secret. What we have done is the result of years of hard work by many people and a belief in our system.

For that reason, Vila Bosch expects ongoing success for the Catalan club, even when the likes of Messi and Iniesta finish playing.

“FC Barcelona is much more than Messi,” says Vila Bosch. “He is a huge talent but is also much more productive [at FC Barcelona] than he would be at any other club. He’s become a much better player, a better team player. At FC Barcelona, the team is always bigger than any player. It might be hard to repeat this generation but we are working to make sure the team remains strong, that we don’t depend on any particular player.”

Reflecting on FC Barcelona’s rise as the modern masters of possession football, he says the philosophies were “fermenting” in the 1970s. They were cemented in 1988, when Cruyff returned as coach, before “exploding” in 2008 with Guardiola and his La Masia graduates.

Tiki-taka has since swept the world and, though it hasn’t always been successful, Barcelona’s faith in the system will never falter.

“Maybe before 2000, some of the directors had their doubts – ‘What if we lose?’, ‘What if it doesn’t work?’ But now, I don’t think you could be president of Barcelona if you don’t believe in the system. More than 150,000 members and millions of fans worldwide won’t permit that.

“Winning 1-0 is not enough – it’s about how they win.”

“A lot of people think only the biggest clubs with the best players can play this way, but it is not just a privilege of the elite. I’m delighted to be here, representing Barcelona, at a club that thinks the same way. Like us, they believe in football based on creating, not destroying.”


Reprinted by kind permission of the New Zealand Herald