Albert Benaiges: ex-director of Barcelona youth teams accused of historical child sex abuses, Xavi reacts

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Former director of Barcelona youth teams, Albert Benaiges allegedly committed historical child sex abuses while he was a teacher of physical education at a public school in Barcelona.

A newspaper in Spain, ARA published a story recently that alleged that at least 60 students from the public school had accused Albert Benaiges of sexually abusing them.

The report has forced authorities in northeastern Spain to open an investigation into the activities of the 71-year-old football tactician.

However, Albert Benaiges whose last job title was FC Barcelona academy manager has denied the allegations against him.

Benaiges has been a part of FC Barcelona‘s youth system since 1991. He has been involved in the development of a series of players who ended up becoming the club’s legends.

Some of his greatest students include Lionel Messi who now plays for Paris Saint Germain; Xavi who is the coach of FC Barcelona; and Adrian Iniesta who is the captain of J1 League club Vissel Kobe.

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Albert Benaiges and one of his best students, Adrian Iniesta.
Albert Benaiges and one of his best students, Adrian Iniesta.

Ahead of the Barcelona Spanish La Liga game against Osasuna scheduled to take place later today, December 12, 2021, Xavi told reporters that he was surprised that Albert Benaiges was accused of child sex abuses.

The retired midfielder stressed that though he did not have information about the sexual scandal, that did not mean that it did not happen. He however added that he never suspected that the veteran teacher was sexually abusing children.

“I don’t have any information that there have been any type of these episodes, although that does not mean that they did not happen,” Xavi said.

“He was my coach and I never had any suspicions. I am very surprised and stunned, I didn’t expect it.

“This is a very delicate, very complicated issue.

“I have spoken with the coaching staff because we love Albert Benaiges very much. It has surprised us a lot. We always had an excellent relationship, and he left a very good legacy.

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“It is the justice system that will have to decide.”

Albert Benaiges worked with FC Barcelona youth teams between 1991 and 2012 before he left to work with the youth teams of other clubs outside Spain – Al Wasl, Chivas, Chibao FC, and served as an advisor at Vissel Kobe.

The veteran football teacher returned to FC Barcelona on April 1 to serve as the club’s academy manager. He suddenly decided to resign on December 2, 2021, for “personal reasons”.

FC Barcelona president, Joan Laporta said: “This man who left the club for personal reasons was hired for his talent at finding players and evaluating the talent of young players.

“What the club is doing is collecting all the information that is coming out so we can make an official statement.

“I will also say that anyone who tries to link Barcelona to his issue in an improper manner will receive a firm response by the club to defend its legitimate interests.”

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