FC Barcelona's mes que un club motto has taken a bit of a battering as of late, what with the shirt carrying one of the flagship brands of a somewhat medieval nation with a spotty human rights record, all the tax evasion and the illegal recruitment of non-EU youngsters. Clearly though, the naysayers haven't seen that we've shifted our attentions away from the traditional charities and foundations, not to mention that general law-abiding focus to something else altogether: helping the mental health of former English Premier League players.
It's a niche area, admittedly. Then again, can you think of anyone providing as much of a contribution to this field as FC Barcelona have in the past 9-10 months? Of course not! So, why aren't we being recognised for these efforts?
First, we took in a broken man, a sociopath of sorts. At Liverpool, he saw nothing wrong in racially abusing his enemies and literally taking a chunk out of opposing defenders. Not figuratively. Literally. That man, Luis Suarez was thought to be a lost cause but as a condition of his move, we sent him to see a psychiatrist and boom! Hey presto, Suarez was fixed. Reborn in his current incarnation, Suarez has not only stopped racially abusing and biting his opposition, but he has also retained his previous goalscoring ability.
That's a win in my book, and now we're hoping that we can work our magic on another Premier League outcast.
Poor old Thomas Vermaelen has got a lot of stick since signing in the summer. Maybe it's the fact that he has earned a reported €4 million since his arrival from Arsenal, or maybe it's the fact that he is yet to take to the field in competitive action. Whatever the case, apparently the constant jibes from the fans and media alike have taken their tool on Thomas and coupled with the disappointment of missing a season (and still being paid €€€ for the inconvenience), we've decided to send him to see a psychiatrist too.
If Suarez is anything to go by, expect Vermaelen to return in the new season as a cross between Franz Beckenbauer, Paolo Maldini and Carles Puyol himself.
Either that, or he'll still be injured. At this stage, it's probably 50:50.
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