Manchester City’s CEO, Ferran Soriano, was born and raised in Barcelona and in 2003 won the Board of Directors elections for FC Barcelona with Joan Laporta’s team. He was the club’s financial vice-president from 2003 until 2008. During his time at the club he made key decisions, actively negotiated contracts with the technical director Txiki Beguiristain, who is also now at City, and created ties with the most important clubs around the world.
When Barcelona sacked Frank Rijkaard in 2008 Seriano was given the job of finding a new manager and Jose Mourinho, who had spent four years at the club in a coaching role before pursuing his own managerial career, was one of the favourites. He helped Bobby Robson win the European Cup Winners’ Cup before assisting Louis van Gaal to two La Liga titles.
In the end, Soriano opted for Pep Guardiola instead, promoting him from Barcelona B, to take over from Rijkaard. In four years as manager Guardiola won three La Liga titles, two Champions Leagues, two Copa del Reys, three Supercopa de Españas, two UEFA Super Cups and one World Club Cup. When he left the club last year Soriano revealed they preferred Guardiola because they weren’t a fan of the football Mourinho’s teams play.
“I can confirm that we initially preferred Mourinho over Pep,” he said. “Mourinho is a great coach who has enjoyed plenty of success. He had worked for Barcelona before, so he knew how we play. However, you just have to look at the way Inter and Real Madrid play to see that he has a different philosophy. That’s why eventually we decided not to hire him.”
Mourinho is set to leave Real Madrid and Manchester City are one of the clubs he has been linked to, although Soriano’s opinion of the Special One is a spanner in the works for the blues. It has been reported in the past that both Soriano and Begiristain have given negative reports on the Portuguese manager to Sheik Mansour, claiming he is a disruptive individual and would be harmful to the name of the club.
City again failed in the Champions League and have fallen 15 points behind Manchester United which has lead to suggestions that Mancini will be sacked. However, last week Soriano gave his full backing to Roberto Mancini.
“He is a champion, I do not add more,” Soriano said. “Anyway, it is not easy to win back any league, especially in the Premier League.”
Mourinho to City? I wouldn’t bet on it…