Barcelona appoint Jordi Roura as new director of youth football

Barcelona have appointed Jordi Roura as the club's new director of youth football, ending speculation the long-time La Masia figure could fill the still vacant sporting director role at the Camp Nou.

Former Blaugrana player-turned long-time coach Roura, who stood in for a few months as first team boss when incumbent Tito Vilanova was seriously ill during the 2012-13 season, was mentioned by AS as a leading candidate to fill the more senior post left vacant after club president Josep Maria Bartomeu fired Andoni Zubizarreta in early January.

A club statement released after Monday's board meeting confirmed that 47-year-old Roura would now be in charge of all youth and reserve team matters at the Catalan club.

"Jordi Roura has been named as the new Director of Youth Football at FC Barcelona," the statement said. "In a board meeting on Monday, the club board decided to give the former assistant coach of the first team the responsibility of overseeing the youth set-up from the very youngest level all the way to Barca B."

This is the latest development in a turbulent few months behind the scenes at the Camp Nou. When Zubizarreta was fired, his assistants Narcis Julia and Albert Valentin departed too, and former player Carles Puyol also left his position on the club's technical staff.

Bartomeu has said the new sporting director will be someone with a strong Blaugrana past, although no potential candidates have been officially confirmed, with both next summer's presidential elections and the current ban on signing any players until 2016 making the task of filling the vacancy more complicated.

Another change this month has seen long-serving Emili Sabadell being replaced as team 'manager' by Pepe Costa, who is thought to be close to players including Lionel Messi.

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