It is now official. Gabriel Milito has been released from his contract at FC Barcelona, and is likely to sign for Independiente is the coming days. While we have been highly critical of Gabi at this blog, it is only because of the high standard he set himself before that unfortunate knee injury. It pained me to see the decline of a once great footballer, similar in part to that of Ronaldinho.
Signed in 2007, for €18.5 million, he appeared to be the perfect partner for Carles Puyol. Not only was he left-footed, but tactically astute, and it is easy to forget just how solid he was in his first season at the club. Gabi played 42 games that season, but injuries were about to destroy his career.
Milito tore his ACL at the end of the 07/08 season, and it took him nigh on two years to recover. Perhaps Real Madrid were right to cancel his transfer, that knee was trouble all along. Needless to say, he never could regain the form of that debut season, and sadly he became the Gabi we have all grown accustomed to.
Even when he looked to be doing well, another mishap was always around the corner, such as earlier this season, where he scored what was thought to be the winning goal against Real Sociedad tearing his calf in the process, before it was ruled out for offside.
Error-prone, slow, but still with a warrior’s heart, it is with great sadness that we bid you farewell.
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