Jordi Roura and Tito Vilanova met in their teenage years at the Barcelona training school, La Masia and have been friends ever since. Roura joined La Masia at 14, made his professional debut at 20 and retired at the early age of 26 after a playing career plagued by injuries.
During his time at La Masia Roura was part of a group that was nicknamed the “band of gluttons”. This peculiarly named group of friends, of which Pep Guardiola was also part, was made of young La Masia footballers who enjoyed fine gastronomy. They won their nickname by organizing real feasts in the La Masia cafeteria, with regional products brought from their respective hometowns from across Spain.
Under Pep Guardiola’s tenure in charge of FC Barcelona, Roura was part of the scouting team that researched the Catalan’s rivals along Domènec Torrent and Carles Planchart. During that time he became a common figure at the Barcelona training facilities, often spotted camera in hand around training according to Sport.es.
Roura, who played as a center forward, was brought into the Barcelona A team by Johan Cruyff in 1988 but he only played 10 games for them, suffering a bad knee injury that kept him sidelined for the majority of the 1988-1989 and 1989-1990 seasons.
After short appearances as a player with lower division teams Murcia and Figueras Roura decided to pursue a career as coach rather than player. He accumulated some experience as assistant coach for Yokohama Flugel and Terrassa, both under managers from Barcelona (Carles Rexach and Jordi Vinyals respectively).
Roura then had an unsuccessful spell as head coach of Catalan team CE L’Hospitalet, being fired after just a few months in charge, and his team eventually being relegated to the fourth tier of Spanish football.
In 2009 Roura was taken on by Guardiola as part of his backroom staff and his contribution was essential to the meticulous video preparations the team went through for every match.
Vilanova made Roura his assistant manager as soon as he took over from Guardiola. Roura has already stepped in as first coach this season, in a 1-0 victory over Valencia at the Camp Nou. Vilanova had been suspended for that match following his dismissal by the referee in Barcelona’s match against Osasuna the previous week.
In the next few weeks most of the football world will be hinged on the evolution of Vilanova’s disease and the outcome of tomorrow’s surgery. But at least Tito will be reassured that during his time away, starting with the match on Saturday against Valladolid, his team is in trusted hands.