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Barcelona hand Zubizarreta new deal

Barcelona have ended speculation about the future of sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta by announcing that he will stay at the club until 2016.

Andoni Zubizarreta has worked as Barca's sporting director since 2010.
Andoni Zubizarreta has worked as Barca's sporting director since 2010.

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Zubizarreta has held the position since 2010, when he replaced Txiki Begiristain, now at Manchester City, following the arrival of club president Sandro Rosell.

During that time, the former Barca goalkeeper has worked alongside first-team coaches Pep Guardiola, Tito Vilanova and Gerardo Martino.

Barcelona’s transfer dealings have included successes such as Jordi Alba, Cesc Fabregas and Javier Mascherano, but also much-questioned moves for Alex Song and Alexis Sanchez.

There has also been criticism of the club’s handling of issues such as the contract clause that allowed Thiago Alcantara to join Bayern Munich for 25 million euros last summer, Victor Valdes’ decision to leave at the end of this season and a failure to sign more cover at centre-back.

Rosell is thought to have personally overseen the negotiations that saw Neymar and Martino join the club last summer.

The new deal, announced by Barcelona on Thursday but not yet signed, will keep Zubizarreta at the club until the end of Rosell and the current board’s mandate in 2016.

“Andoni Zubizarreta will be staying on as director of football until the end of the 2015-16 season after terms were agreed for the extension of his contract on Thursday Nov. 7,” a club statement read.

“His present contract is due to expire at the end of June 2014, but he’ll now be staying on an additional two years until June 30 2016. He will be signing his new contract over the next few days.”

AS claimed Zubizarreta threatened to resign in the summer when Barcelona did not offer new contracts to his assistants, Albert Valentin and Narcis Julia, but the issue has been resolved with all three staying in their jobs.

The next tasks facing Barca’s technical staff include choosing Valdes’ replacement for next season, finalising Andres Iniesta’s new contract, identifying a new centre-back to replace Carles Puyol and deciding whether Barca need a more traditional centre-forward to complement their existing options.


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