The coaching staff of FC Barcelona’s first team for next season has been determined. The Club has reached an agreement with Eduard Pons, José Ramon de la Fuente, and Àlex Garcia to join Barça as the fitness coach, goalkeeping coach, and technical analyst, respectively. The three have signed on for two years, through June 30, 2014.
Edu Pons, previously the fitness coach for Juvenil A, will take Lorenzo Buenaventura’s place as the new fitness coach for Tito Vilanova’s Barça. Before joining the blaugrana, Pons worked for Lleida, Nàstic, and Almeria.
José Ramón de la Fuente, who played for Barça B in the 1994-95 season, returns to the Club as trainer of Víctor Valdés and José Manuel Pinto, following the departure of Juan Carlos Unzué to Racing. De la Fuente, a native of Santa Cristina d’Aro, hung up his gloves at Écija in 2006, and began his coaching career there before going to Hércules (2008-09), Racing as assistant coach (2009-10), Nàstic (2010-11) and back to Hércules (2011-12).
Álex Garcia returns to Barça as a member of the ‘scouting’ team led by Domènec Torrent and Carles Planchart, replacing Jordi Roura. The coach had previously worked for the scouting department during the 2010-11 season when he was commissioned to track Álexis Sánchez. Garcia was the coach of Georgian side Dinamo Tblisi until January, and had previously coached some of Barça’s youth teams (Cadet A from 2001-03 and Juvenil A from 2005-09) and the Catalan national team, to great success. Among his many titles, he won two Leagues with Juvenil A, in the 2005-06 and 2008-09 seasons, also picking up the Champions Cup (Copa de Campeones) in the latter year. In the beginning of his coaching career, in 2002-03, Álex also worked with the spectacular generation of 87, including Cesc Fàbregas, Gerard Piqué, Leo Messi and co.
In this manner, the coaching staff is now complete for Barça 2012-13, with Tito Vilanova in charge. The only possible remaining position to fill for Pep Guardiola’s successor is a replacement for Manel Estiarte as head of External Relations (providing a link between the coaching staff and the players). As Mundo Deportivo reports, Vilanova is considering his friend Jaume Torras, a former Barça youth product, for this position.