The inevitable happened. FC Barcelona has released Argentine international Gabriel Milito, on a free it appears. It’s August 2011 so this news has been long overdue. As a matter of fact, Gabriel Milito should’ve been released two years ago. Though he was one of the better performers in a Barca shirt during the horrendous 2007/2008 season, his services shouldn’t have been retained once it became apparent that he would spend more time on treatment table than on the pitch. Yes, I am one cold-blooded human being for even writing this but this is football. While I am aware of FC Barcelona’s motto "Mes que un club" it is also supposed to be a professional organization. Cut your losses – it’s simple as that. It is even mystifying why Pep Guardiola chose to keep Milito beyond January 2011. According to several sources, FC Barcelona had the opportunity to get rid (yeah, I am a bad person) of the Argentine. Okay, Gabriel Milito seems to be a decent human being (unlike I) and yes, perhaps he was a positive influence in the dressing room – but this is not Oprah’s book club. Besides, this group of FC Barcelona players doesn’t have any disruptive force amongst them anymore. Ronaldinho and Deco have been long gone while Samuel Eto’o has been forced to go. Oddly enough the majority of FC Barcelona players still miss the Cameroonian whereas Zlatan Ibrahimovic has already practiced his vast array of Kung-Fu kicks on his AC Milan teammates.
From the outside looking in it really looks like Gabriel Milito was kept for sentimental reasons only rather sporting ones. Every time he stepped on the pitch FC Barcelona were bound to concede a goal. Frankly, he made most supporters nervous when his name appeared on the team sheet, even as benchwarmer. If the 2011 Gabriel Milito is your best back-up option on the bench, it speaks volumes of the lack of depth in the squad. Retaining Gabriel Milito for as long as he did, has been one of the more bizarre, and questionable, decisions by Pep Guardiola. He kept him around for the business end of the season, yet he didn’t trust him enough to give him playing time. What did he do? He chose to implement either Javier Mascherano or Sergio Busquets as makeshift center backs. Not even the most delusional FC Barcelona fanboy could explain to me how that makes any sense. Why did he keep Gabriel Milito around? Calming presence in the dressing room? A football player is supposed to earn his salary on the pitch, not the dressing room. On the pitch Milito has been nothing short of a liability of epic proportions.
Though it can be considered positive news that FC Barcelona has released Gabriel Milito, Pep Guardiola’s announcement that the club will not sign a replacement is truly horrific.
WARNING: All delusional fanboys please don’t read any further than this.
While FC Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy ranks among the best in the world, arguably the best, not every youngster that has frequented the facilities is a potential world-beater. Perhaps this might be hard to stomach but Andreu Fontas is just not FC Barcelona material. HE IS NOT. If he was a player of any other club he would be dismissed in an instant. But since he is the product of FC Barcelona’s youth system he must be special. Furthermore, Pep Guardiola cannot be wrong which is interesting since the very same fanboys suggest that Arsene Wenger is. Okay, Pep Guardiola won a truckload of trophies ever since he took charge of the squad but so did Wenger. It’s because of his accomplishments Arsenal FC’s fans proudly proclaim "In Wenger we trust". Barcelona fanboys version of it sounds a little bit like this "Pep knows best". What’s next, his poo poo doesn’t stink?
How does the old saying go again?
Strikers win you games but defenders win you championships
And FC Barcelona are kind of short on center backs, there’s Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol and…yikez, Andreu Fontas. What did all defeats from last season have in common? Carles Puyol was notably absent from the team, that’s the common denominator. And though I applaud the optimism, or rather naivety of some fans – Carles Puyol isn’t going to get any younger. He’s on the wrong side of 30 which means he needs more time to recover from an injury. Although it must be said that whenever Puyol is fit, he is, and remains, an invaluable asset to the Blaugrana. However, he is most likely to be even more susceptible to injuries as time progresses.
Pep Guardiola was lucky that his squad didn’t have to suffer form injury too much, but what if he loses not only Carles Puyol but Gerard Pique also? As if imagining Andreu Fontas in the starting XI isn’t horrible enough already. Who would partner with him in the heart of defense? Eric Abidal? Javier Mascherano? Sergio Busquets?
Is it too much to ask for to buy at least one proven center back? Mats Hummels for instance, who can be safely regarded as one of Europe’s most promising center backs and most definitely has a higher ceiling than Andreu Fontas. Why not buy him? But apparently adding further talent to an already packed midfield is of higher priority. How can buying Cesc Fabregas compensate for the lack of depth in central defense? FC Barcelona already have seven (!) central midfielders but only two and a half (sorry but I only count Fontas as half) center backs.
But as the saying goes "Pep knows best".
However, some others correctly predicted that I would address the situation with an editorial.
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