Barcelona have replaced their director of communications in an apparent attempt to improve the public perception of president Sandro Rosell.
The ousted Xavier Martin had been in the job since December 2011, but rumours about his future had circulated after TV cameras caught him and Rosell arguing loudly and publicly in the stands during Barca’s Champions League game at Milan in October.
Barca;s new director of communications is Albert Montagut, whose impressive CV includes spells with El Pais, El Periodico and El Mundo.
Rosell and the Barcelona board have faced constant criticism over the past year a so, ranging from Barca’s sponsorship dealings with Qatar, to their handling of Eric Abidal’s contract situation, to the role changes in the medical department have played in Lionel Messi’s continuing injury problems.
Mundo Deportivo, a Catalan sports paper generally supportive of Rosell’s regime, reported on Wednesday that Martin may have been fired because of
“problems in projecting a positive image of the club despite its good sporting and economic situation.”
At the heart of the problem is the continuing feud between Rosell and former, and perhaps future club president Joan Laporta. Barca is a club divided into to the ‘Rosellista’ and ‘Laportista’ camps and I don’t see how a PR offensive is going to change that unless it involves Rosell offering an olive branch to the ‘Laportista’ camp. And I don’t see that happening any time soon.