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Barcelona's President is proud of Hristo Stoichkov

Date: 13.09.2006

We, the lawyers, prove successful in football management

Joan Laporta: Levski should be happy with a president like lawyer Batkov

Barcelona, Tuesday noon - extraordinary press conference of Barcelona, where Barcelona's President Joan Laporta and UNICEF President for Spain, Consuelo Crespo, present to the media the contract between the Catalunyan club and UNICEF. Only questions on the topic could be raised, but at the end of the press conference Mr. Laporta gave a few minutes of his precious time to the correspondents of Standart Newspaper.

- Hello, Mr. Laporta, accept our congratulations for the contract with UNICEF! This act is also a pleasure to the Bulgarian admirers of the football game, because Levski are becoming part of the history of Barcelona - Levski will be the first team to play vs. Barcelona wearing their new jerseys with the logo of UNICEF on them.

- Hello to you, too, I am quite happy that there are Bulgarian friends with us at this historic for us moment. Our ties do not date back from yesterday and they have always been of great interest for the two countries. There is also something in common between the football policies the managements of our two clubs pursue.

- What are youin mind?

- I have recently talked with Levski's President, lawyer Todor Batkov about the importance of the football game as a social phenomenon, about the tasks ahead of us. Our viewpoints on many issue fully coincide. I also have to add that Mr. Batkov is a person, who is really doing his job properly and Levski have to be very happy to have such a hard-working man at the head.

- And what about the performance and the game of the two clubs?

- Even here we have things in common. Both Levski and Barcelona appointed former players as coaches. Rijkaard in Barcelona and Stanimir Stoilov in Levski. Stoilov was even Levski's captain. I am sure you know that Stoilov was in training in Barcelona a year ago.

- How do you find Levski?

- Levski are very strong and boasts a very rich history. To beat Levski you have to show 100% of your capacity and skills on the field. I think that the two matches vs Levski will be some of the toughest in the group, because Levski footballers are very experienced and many of their players are Bulgaria's internationals.

- But the newspapers in Spain write that Levski are the weakest in the Champions League?

- What the newspapers write is of no interest to me, because I know that things look differently. 

- Do you know any Levski footballer by name?

- Oh, to be honest the Bulgarian names are very hard to pronounce and this is the only reason I can't tell you any name, but the fact that a man with such a strong character like Stoichkov rely on many of Levski players in the national team of Bulgaria speaks for itself. I know that Levski have excellent strikers and half-players.

- And something else...

- Wait, wait! I can't miss to mention Stoichkov once again, who is the strongest connection between Catalunya and Bulgaria. Both you and we are proud of Stoichkov.

- Mr. Laporta, would you please tell me something else. You are a lawyer by profession and Barcelona are the strongest club in the world. Levski President lawyer Todor Batkov and his club have made a breakthrough in the Champions League. How come you lawyers are so good at football management?
(The crammed hall bursts in laughter. Mr. Laporta stands up from the platform and nears us. Then, childishly happy, he continues)

- I have not been asked such a nice and interesting question for a long time. I am constantly asked how many goals Barcelona will score, how much Barcelona will pay for this or that footballer and all sorts of similar questions. It is likely that we, the lawyers, are not very good at football management at all since we have left everything in the hands of the professionals. They are doing the necessary football things, while we, the lawyers, are doing our best to create ideal conditions for preparation and performance. We keep out of things we are not good at. We have given full freedom to the football people to take and lead our teams forward. And if we judge by the results, we have not made a mistake.

- Thank you very much for being kind to answer our questions, Mr. Laporta. Whatever the resultsof the first leg between Barcelona and Levski, we shall be looking forward to seeing you in Sofia!

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