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Barcelona bullyboys

By | 28th July 2010

It started with a heartfelt plea from a player looking to rejoin his boyhood club; the journey that the Cesc Fabreags transfer saga has taken on since leaves a distinctly sour taste in the mouth.

Following the conclusion of the 2009-2010 Premier League season, the Arsenal captain made it known publicly that it would be his desire to return to Barcelona – the club from which Arsenal ‘poached’ him as a 16-year-old in September 2003.

Fabregas had left the club he supported as a child to seek out first team football, and in Arsene Wenger, he found a mentor that would one day mould him into one of the best players in the world. He was handed the Arsenal captaincy in the early part of the 2008-2009 season and had the world at his feet.

However, the lack of silverware at The Emirates began to become something of an issue, especially when he looked to Catalonia and saw the success of the club where so many emotional ties still remained. And so, following the conclusion of another trophyless season in North London, Fabregas went to Wenger to tell him that he would prefer to be allowed to return to Barcelona.

With the World Cup just around the corner, Wenger, in his now habitual fatherly role, instructed his captain to concentrate on the task at hand for the Spain national side. Whilst Fabregas played a bit-part role in guiding the Spaniards to their first World Cup triumph, the media continued to report on the midfielder’s proposed return to the Nou Camp, the general gist being that Barca could not, or would not, meet Arsenal’s valuation of the player.

Then, with Fabregas obviously keen to move to the Spanish champions and Arsenal unwilling to let their star player leave, things started to get ugly.

Spain duly returned to their homeland as heroes amid mass celebration and partying in the streets. Then, when onstage with Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina, Barcelona defenders Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique ambushed Fabregas pulling a Barcelona shirt over his head. Of course the world’s media snapped away and pictures of the Arsenal midfielder donning the Barca shirt were plastered across the internet. It was all done in a jovial manner, smiles all around, and nothing more would have been thought or said of it had it not been for the subsequent all-out underhanded assault from the Barcelona players.

Shortly after the World Cup had concluded, with Barcelona and Arsenal at a stalemate regarding a transfer fee for the player, Wenger called for an end to the whole affair, intimating his captain would remain at The Emirates for another season at least.

Undeterred Andres Iniesta, Xavi, David Villa and others talked to the Spanish media, English media and anyone who would listen on an almost daily basis. Xavi stating that Arsenal were “delaying the inevitable” by not letting the player join Barca this summer, Villa claiming that he “will do the maximum to get Cesc here” and a variety of similar stories dominated the headlines.

Under the guise of national teammates merely talking about one of their fellow World Cup winners’ future Barcelona players continue to infiltrate the media with ‘Fabregas to Barcelona’ stories. Wenger has politely requested that the whole matter be put to bed, but those associated with Barca refuse to let the story die.

Although FIFA and UEFA are apparently intent on preventing the tapping up of players under contract they appear to have done nothing in this instance. Were this type of devious bullying going on in the school playground then parents would be called into explain their child’s actions. But perhaps Barcelona, with their oh-so-perfect ethos of nurturing young talent and paying the Unicef charity for sponsorship rights, are above jurisdiction.

Because they provide the perfect template of how football should be played on the field, does that mean that they are not required to adhere to the same set of rules as the rest off the pitch? Will the governing bodies continue to allow employees of Barcelona to talk so openly and blatantly about another club’s player?

Unfortunately it seems that Barcelona’s status has afforded them luxuries that others are not privy to. I enjoy watching them play their football as much as the next man, but for me the whole affair has cast a shadow over the notion that Barcelona Football Club are the perfect football club.

Jaymes Monte is also chief copywriter for The Betting Blog

Reader Comments

The below views are those of our readers and do not reflect the opinions of Premiership Talk or its employees.
  1. Jaymes says:

    Now Carles Puyol is at it!

  2. Vincent says:

    If Barca are bully boys, then Arsenal are thieves because they stole Cesc and Fran Merida from Barca. At least Barca are offering to buy Cesc from them.

    When you are a thief, you have no right to complain…

    Arsenal specialize in stealing youth players from Spain and France, but Talk EPL is not complaining… Arsenal persuaded Chamakh not to renew his contract so he could sign for them free of charge, they instructed Wiltord to go on strike at Bordeaux but Talk EPL is not complaining… Hypocrites?

    • SG says:

      Arsenal paid for Fabregas, Barca let him go, Arsenal made him the player he is today. Besides, Cesc is still under contract, Barca can either put up (90m-euro)or shut up. As I understand it, Arsenal will be asking Fifa and Euefa to investigate these Spanish vegabonds who call themselves Barca players. Wait. I have an idea, if Villa, Puyol, Xabi, Messi et al, really want Cesc at Barca, they should give up a year's salary to pay for him to come.

  3. BarcaFan says:

    I as a Barca fan think this has gone beyond it should have. Barca players can iterate that they would love to play with him sure, I do not see a problem with that, but saying he should come "home", he wants to come, and that it is inevitable is just going overboard.

    There is no harm in saying hes a great player and ANY team would love to have him but really the players I love have gone to far. I don't know if FIFA should be doing anything here but I hope they learn to respect Arsenal a bit more.

    If they had not been, along with the club officials, saying so much stuff about Fabregas…maybe Arsenal would have come to the negotiation table. At least this year, this deal is a no go. Plus I don't see a big need for him until Xavi retires anyway!

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