'Spy' Roura can roar with Barca

Mustapha 'El Loco' Kamaruddin likens Barcelona's caretaker manager Jordi Roura to a secret agent and is convinced the 45-year-old is capable of doing a good job in his interim role


Jordi Roura.

This is the man called upon as 'caretaker boss' by Barcelona taking over Tito Vilanova who suffered a tumour relapse.

Barca manager Vilanova, who underwent a surgery on Thursday, is set to be on the sidelines for six weeks.

There were speculations earlier that Barca were thinking of calling back back former boss Josep 'Pep' Guardiola or club legend Luis Enrique to fill the vacuum left by Vilanova.

But these rumours were brushed aside by Barca as they named Roura as caretaker manager instead.

Will Roura will be able to cope with the job of handling Barca, who are enjoying their best start to a season under the 44-year-old Vilanova?

First for some backgrounds.

Roura, a former Barca player, is now Vilanova's assistant.

And Barca have full confidence in Roura, as does Tito himself, as the two have known each other since they were teenagers at the club's La Masia youth academy.

Prior to becoming assistant manager for Barça first team, Roura used to carry out exhaustive scouting to analyse the team's future opponents - producing detailed reports that  Guardiola and  Vilanova used to prepare for upcoming matches.

Like a spy, if you like.

Girona-born Roura, 45, played a total of 10 competitive games over two seasons for Barca after Dutch legend Johan Cruyff gave him his debut in the 1988-1989 season.

A serious injury sustained to his right knee during the European Super Cup against AC Milan curtailed his progression and he eventually quit to focus on coaching full-time.

El Loco feels Roura is capable of doing his job. For instance, he has vast experience after working with Guardiola and Vilanova all this while.

Despite of what happened, the mood within the Barca camp remains upbeat, with a widespread belief this is a temporary setback. Vilanova will be able to return to the hotseat within a few weeks.

Anyway, Roura's maiden task will be an away match against Real Valladolid at Nuevo Jose Zorilla on Sunday (1am, Malaysian time).

It's interesting to see what happens here. Will Barca suffer their first league defeat? Will the Catalans continue with their remarkable run?

The good thing is that Roura has all the quality players at his disposal and will stick to what Vilanova has been doing.

What is there to change?

With that, El Loco believes Barca will get another three points here as Lionel Messi is in frightening form as has been scoring goals for fun.

Messi has already absurd 90 goals in 2012 and should at to his tally against Valladolid. This is the last match in Primera Liga before the winter break and he will surely want to end the year with a bang.

Oh yes...Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho has made contact with his Barca counterpart Vilanova after yesterday's news about his illness.

El Mundo Deportivo reported Mourinho offered his best wishes to Vilanova via a mutual friend and a speedy recovery.

The pair have become closer since last season's infamous clash at Nou Camp where Mourinho poked Vilanova's eyes.

This is very good gesture on Mourinho's part. As they say, there is more to life than just football.

Another interesting development... Cristiano Ronaldo is becoming more inclusive at Real Madrid.

Punto Pelota claimed after appearing isolated earlier this season, Ronaldo is now taking on a greater leadership role after holding talks with Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Pepe.

Ronaldo's appearance at Pepe's recent book launch was a sign of his willingness to be more involved with his teammates away from the pitch.

He's also improved his relationship with senior Spanish pair Ramos and Casillas.

It's understood Ronaldo enjoys greater popularity inside the Real locker room, with no teammate having a bad word to say against the former Manchester United star.


Anyway, get well soon Tito.