Night falls in Andorra and there is more than half a field without snow, so the players go out to warm up fast to fight the cold, also to welcome Martí Riverola -he came to debut with the first team of Barça in Champions, in 2011, against BATE Borisov-, the new and final signing of FC Andorra, of the First Catalan, after the other 10 additions of the team mid-season. "It's okay. Last week we could barely train and we stayed in the gym or playing games, "explains Rubén Bover, a franchise player of the team that arrived a couple of months ago, a footballer who has gone through much more pedigree clubs such as the New York Cosmos, Charlton and Barnet, among others. He contacted him Cesc Fabregas, with whom shares agent. "When they called me I thought I was a little crazy because it meant lowering several categories," says Bover; "But seeing names like yours or Piqué's behind the project helps". A challenge devised by Gerard Piqué, carried out by his company Kosmos and which has, as a firm objective, to ascend steps at the speed of light until reaching the First Division.
For Pique, enter the world of football It was not a priority at the moment, busy as it is with the new Davis that Kosmos organizes. He made, for example, deaf ears to a couple of offers from the United States, MLS, and even a Second team in Spain. "From Kosmos we identify the different opportunities that exist in sport and with the new sports law in Andorra, which allows the entry of foreign capital by transforming sport societies into public limited companies, we study it and, together with a local partner – they prefer not to to say his name still – we thought he had enormous potential for having a country behind him ", agrees Ferran Vilaseca, responsible Kosmos executive for this project. In fact, the words of Piqué still resound in the offices of the company after Kosmos took on the debt of Andorra, which almost reached 300,000 euros: "Let's make a Monaco!" But for that, it takes time, resources and investment.
Half joking, half seriously, Monaco is an example for Andorra, which competes in Spain. "But also we look at the Villarreal, in its club and grassroots structure because a few years ago I was in Segunda B and with a job well done they have settled in the elite, "says Vilaseca. "We are convinced that if the people of Andorra feel they participate, the project will come out," he adds. At the moment, in a country without soccer tradition (17 seasons in second B and six in third), the field now has about 400 people. Before arriving Piqué, barely a hundred among the 250 members.
The investment of the Barça player was questioned because Andorra was once a tax haven. "I do not think the accusation makes sense because Andorra has changed a lot in the last eight years with the economic opening", replies Olga Gelabert, Minister of Sports of Andorra; "We are not on the blacklist of Spain, nor of France, nor of the European Union. So I do not think that someone like Piqué would be interested in looking bad for a money laundering issue. " From Kosmos also brand absurd the idea.
"The news of the purchase of the club was one of the most seen in Andorra. The people are very excited. On Monday morning there is talk of Madrid and Barça, and now also of the Piqué team ", recognizes Gelabert.
In sports, for now it is good because Andorra has five wins and three draws in the last stakes, closer to the top positions but still far, 10 points from the promotion area. "It's a difficult challenge, but we have to fight it and reach the last days with possibilities", intervenes the coach, Gabri, who together with Albert Jorquera (both ex-players of Barça), came to Andorra by surprise. "We did not have a team and, without thinking about the category, we accepted it because we believe in the project," says Gabri, who can not forget its roots: "We are all influenced by our footballing past. In my case I've always been in the same place, at Barça, and when I left I did it to Ajax, which is more or less the same. It's hard not to understand football like that, with long possessions, quick recovery, possession of the ball … We want to be faithful to that, but we have to adapt to the players, to the category ". By signings, it will not be.
As sports director is Jaume Nogués, a friend of Piqué del Pueblo (Sant Guim), who has had a generous budget for the category but prefers not to reveal it. The category of wonder is known, "praises Vilaseca. "Since it was made public that Gerard was behind, everything has been much easier," reveals Noguer, who suddenly started receiving calls from agents and players, interested in Andorra.
Gabri is concerned about professionalizing the team. "That's the idea, but there are still many who work and arrive tired. It is more complicated to manage such a group because we are the ones who have to adapt to their schedules and not vice versa, "says Gabri. But that does not take away the will to ascend to Third. "It's difficult, but it's the goal, yes. You have to be as ambitious as possible, "agrees Vilaseca. "It's the idea, of course," adds Noguer. "You have to go up. For the illusion, the project and the country, "adds Bover. "The dressing room has reacted very well and has faced the change with the intention of winning every Sunday, which is not an obligation but it is our demand," adds Gabri.
Vilaseca has already managed to get Andorra out of the Borda Mateu field, where several teams played. "It's that the rivals could not enter the dressing room until the end of the previous game, they had to warm up in the street … Everything was very uncomfortable." So, they are already in Encamp, where they will be able to make some offices – they are already underway – and improve the facilities. They have also facilitated four floors for the signings, so that they can share the players while they are in Andorra.