Why Barcelona Player Treatment is Making Headlines
Barcelona have aired their dirty laundry in public over the past few months and the wounds are still very raw. The Catalan giants have been embroiled in a crisis and that led to a serious altercation with Lionel Messi while Luis Suarez bid a teary farewell to the Nou Camp when he joined Atletico Madrid.
There has been a raft of departures during the summer window and for a club that has enjoyed an abundant amount of success on the pitch, things are quickly beginning to unravel for them off it. Here’s a detailed look at why Barca are no strangers to controversy and why they are routinely criticised for mishandling their stars.
Suarez bitter exit
Inevitably, there was likely to be a fallout from the 8-2 trouncing at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals last term. Few had scarcely thought Suarez would have been one of the casualties. Ronald Koeman picked up the phone to the Uruguayan hitman to inform him that he was no longer part of his plans. More surprisingly, Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu was reticent to sanction the sale of Suarez.
Yet too much water had passed under the bridge and Messi – who we will later discover has had deep underlying tensions with the La Liga giants – couldn’t resist a jibe at his employers over Suarez’s departure.
In an Instagram post, Messi paid a moving tribute to Suarez, in which he said: “You deserved a send-off matching who you are – one of the most important players in the club’s history, achieving important players in the club’s history, achieving important things both as a group and individually.
“Not to get thrown out like you have been. But the truth is at this point nothing surprises me.”
Suarez left an indelible mark on Barca as he netted 198 goals in 283 appearances to become the club’s third-highest goalscorer in their history. Indeed, washing their hands with Suarez was alarming. The striker had a dark side when he was at Liverpool, but Barcelona felt the need to cut their ties and there was no looking back.
Messi’s feud with Barcelona had been brewing for some time before it reached near breaking point. It felt like a long and successful marriage was reaching a conclusion. Perhaps the source of Messi’s disenchantment had been when Barcelona blew a 3-0 lead against Liverpool in the Champions League in May 2019 and the tipping point was the defeat against Bayern last term which signalled a fifth successive campaign without European success for the Blaugrana.
The talismanic Argentine is commonly depicted as an introverted type, but enough was enough from his perspective. There was the now-infamous burrofax that had been sent to the board. Messi couldn’t conceal his frustration with the board and he had some nagging doubts in his mind about whether he wanted to commit his future to Barca.
The 33-year-old threatened to take the club to court after they allegedly reneged on a deal to give him the final say over his future. But Messi insisted it was never his intention to drag the club through the courts and he wanted to settle things amicably. Although he has stayed, Messi’s discontent hasn’t disappeared as many would have hoped.
Above all, Bartomeu has been cast as the villain in the piece and there has been discord at board level due to his misgivings. Aside from the Messi and Suarez sagas, there have been plenty of promises that Bartomeu has made in the past that have been broken.
Neymar has been a point in proof. The Brazilian left under a cloud when he quit the Nou Camp three years ago and joined Paris Saint-Germain for a whopping £200million. While Bartomeu was quick to condemn Neymar and his father for the way they pushed for the transfer, Neymar labelled Bartomeu “a joke” and was less than impressed with the way the Barca president had handled the situation. Political infighting has often transpired onto the pitch and Bartomeu has been an unpopular figure. Presidential elections are set to take place in March 2021 and it seems likely that Bartomeu is heading for the exit. You can check here for some exciting football odds to see who will take over the reins.
Sources: bbc.co.uk / espn.co.uk / skysports.com