LEARNING FROM THE BEST
I first met Gabriel Masfurroll in the seventies, when he was a teenager and a competitive swimmer. At that time, swimming played a very important part in my life because the European Championships held in Barcelona in 1970, in which I participated actively, were an excellent yardstick for the Olympic Games of 1992.
Masfurroll was living in the Residencia Joaquín Blume in Barcelona, run by my friend Ricardo Sánchez, and we had good friends in common such as Santiago Esteva and Maria Paz Corominas, swimmers who in their day were key figures in Spanish sport.
I shall never forget something ‘Gaby’, as his friends call him, said to me when he was still very young: “Mr. Samaranch, when I grow up I want to be like you and match your achievements. I also love sport and believe I can do a lot for it”. It comes as no surprise to me, then, to see Masfurroll holding positions of responsibility in leading sporting institutions.
A few years later, I met up with “Gaby” again when he was head of the Quirón Clinic in Barcelona.
Since then we have kept in touch on a regular basis. We have met and written to each other on numerous occasions and I recall a beautiful picture, on display at the headquarters of the Olympic Committee in Lausanne, which he gave me on one of his visits. I have followed his career very closely over these years and that phrase “when I grow up I want to be like you”, made me take a keen interest in both his personal and professional development.
It is clear that Gabriel Masfurroll has progressed a lot. From nowhere he has become an outstanding businessman, running a large chain of hospitals (USP Hospitales), and has also held several positions of responsibility in the world of sport. I remember his first steps as a director of F. C. Barcelona under José Luis Núñez. He was also Chairman of the NFL’s Advisory Board in Spain, underlining his passion for business and sport as reflected in this book. I feel very honoured to be able to write the foreword to this book which describes, in a very personal way, the relationship between these two worlds which are becoming ever closer and need each other so much.
I am very proud that former sportsmen and women now hold positions of responsibility in society and have become respected policymakers working on behalf of sport. Gabriel Masfurroll has recently created, in association with noted partners, a sports management company called Agency, further proof of his dedication to bringing together the worlds of business and sport.
Finally, I would like to thank Gabriel Masfurroll for his friendship all these years, especially during my difficult time at the IOC, when I discovered whose support I could count on and who my true friends were. ‘Gaby’ was one of those friends and not only did he send me letters of encouragement but he also wrote articles in the press defending my position.
I wish him all the luck in the world and highly recommend this interesting and entertaining book which includes Masfurroll’s personal experiences in addition to stories and anecdotes of people with close links to business and/or sport. Two worlds which are a source of value and wealth in today’s society.
Juan Antonio Samaranch
Marquis of Samaranch
Honorary President for life of the International Olympic Committee