Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Football: Barca coach likes what he sees with All Blacks

Joan Vila Bosch, Barcelona Football Club, Director of Methodology. Photo / Nick Reed.
Joan Vila Bosch, Barcelona Football Club, Director of Methodology. Photo / Nick Reed.

Joan Vila Bosch can see several similarities between Barcelona FC and the All Blacks.

Vila Bosch, who has played and coached at Barcelona for more than 30 years, spent time with former All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry during his week in New Zealand.

The pair swapped ideas about their teams, which have dominated football and rugby in recent years.

"They are different sports but it was interesting to see there are quite a few similarities," says Vila Bosch. "The first is the sense of identity with the team - the feeling, the pride, the sense of identity, which is way more important than the money and is even more important than winning ... because the victories come.

"This bond with the club or team is a huge force, one that happens with the All Blacks and happens with Barcelona, particularly when we have a lot of homegrown players.

"It's something our [respective] rivals don't always have."

The second parallel, according to Vila Bosch, is the emphasis on collective play and teamwork.

Both teams, despite having huge individual talents, know success comes from a united force.

"The power from a truly united team is immeasurable," says Vila Bosch.

"When you have a team that knows what they want and how they want to play, the team is very hard to beat. It is an internal force that is much stronger than the quality of any individual."

From his discussion with Henry, Vila Bosch also noted a shared dedication to their playing styles. "We always keep playing the same way," says Vila Bosch.

"We might lose one or two games but we stick to our principles.

"We believe in our style and that is what the All Blacks do as well."

The final common principle was around shared leadership.

"It's something we insist on, that the team always has four, five or six leaders," he says.

"They are the generals for the coach, on and off the field, and the ones who make sure their team-mates play better and don't get distracted - the guys who are powerful, with characters that inspire."

- Herald on Sunday

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