Robson up for new challenge


FORMER England manager Bobby Robson, who expects to sign a two-year contract to become Barcelona's new coach tomorrow, said yesterday that the offer from the Spanish club was "too good to refuse". Robson will leave Portuguese champions Porto to replace Dutchman Johan Cruyff who was sacked on Saturday following a string of poor results.

"These two and a half years with Porto have been marvellous, but the Barcelona offer was too good to refuse," said Robson. "I want to emphasise that I'm not leaving just for the money. It was the professional challenge that attracted me. Barcelona hasn't won for two seasons and so it's a good time to go there," he said.

Robson, 63, has no doubts about his ability to coach such a high-class side. He led Porto to two successive league championships and is highly popular in Portugal.

Robson has trained three clubs since giving up the England manager's job in 1990. He won two league championships with Dutch club PSV Eindhoven before going to Lisbon's Sporting in 1992. He was fired, for the first time in his career, some 18 months later and switched to Porto.

Cruyff's eight years at Barcelona, one of Europe's wealthiest clubs, have been among the most successful in its history. Barcelona won the European Cup for the first time in 1992 and were Spanish league champions for four successive seasons from 1991-94.