Barça hit out at 'immoral' Arsenal over signing of youth star
Thursday 24 February 2011
Barcelona president Sandro Rosell last night labelled Arsenal "immoral" after they signed 16-year-old Jon Toral from the club's famous La Masia youth academy.
Speaking on Catalan television programme Efectivament, Rosell said: "We explained to Arsenal that we knew they were chasing Toral and we told them it was not correct. For us, it is important that we keep these youngsters who grow up in La Masia. Now they come with money and take the players. Legally they have done nothing wrong but we told them it was immoral."
Asked about the chances of re-signing Cesc Fabregas, who they lost in similar circumstances in 2003, Rosell added: "I believe that Barcelona should have the best players in the world, never forgetting the club's economy and always listening to what the coach wants. The past must be forgotten. Cesc was very young and possibly someone else was deciding for him. I am sure he would accept coming back to Barça."
Toral – whose mother is English – will join the Gunners on 1 July. He is not the first player to join Arsenal after an education at La Masia. Fabregas left Barcelona for north London in 2003. Fran Merida made the same journey in 2005, but left for Atletico Madrid last summer, while Ignasi Miquel, who made his Arsenal debut last Sunday against Leyton Orient in the FA Cup, joined from Barcelona in 2008.
The fact that 16-year-olds in Spain are not allowed to sign professional contracts has helped clubs in England, where the rules are different, to recruit promising players from Spanish academies in recent years.
This is not the first time Arsenal have caused consternation in Catalonia. Former Barcelona president, Joan Laporta, said this month that "the English come here to do fishing", in reference both to Arsenal's signings and to Manchester United's purchase of Gerard Pique.
Barcelona will receive a fee of £350,000 for Toral. His agent is Pere Guardiola, the brother of the current Barcelona coach, Pep, who yesterday signed a 12-month contract extension, which should keep him at the club until at least June 2012.
Latest in Sport
MotoGP Qatar Grand Prix 2015: Five things we can expect this season plus what to look out for as Marc Marquez begins title defence
WrestleMania 31: What time does it start? Full match card and preview ahead of WWE event
Gareth Bale to Chelsea: Real Madrid to be 'tempted by £75m offer' this summer
Thierry Henry shows he's still got it with incredible pass against Jamie Carragher's side during Steven Gerrard tribute match
Manchester United transfer news: Chris Smalling and Phil Jones face uncertain future with contract renewal talks on hold
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers