Sergi Samper had been touted as one of the brightest prospects to come out of Barcelona’s famed academy, but instead he has been wrecked with bad luck and a series of injuries. Samper had just gotten over knee problems that prevented him from playing in this year’s pre-season tour of the US, and now he’s got an ankle injury and will be out for a few weeks.
Samper had just returned after a disastrous loan spell at Las Palmas which again was marked by frequent injuries. He had previously fractured his left fibula and had issues in his ankle, and required surgery.
In fact, since the 2016-17 season, his first in a first-team squad (on loan at Granada), Samper has missed 52 matches due to injury, only playing 29 of them. The 52 matches missed are also more than the 40 he has played in his entire career at the top level in all competitions. And those days out don’t count the time he’s spent injured in between seasons or during preseason, in which he could have helped get into sync with the team.
He went to Granda because Paco Jémez was the coach. He admitted he only joined because of Jémez’s style of play and because the coach called him every day saying he would fit the team. Jémez was fired for bad results and his replacement was not a fan of Samper, and didn’t use him often.
At Las Palmas, the same thing happened. He went because the coach, Manolo Márquez, convinced him. But once again the coach was fired early on. And before he could adjust to his replacement, Pako Ayestaran, he too, was fired. Finally, Jémez was hired by Las Palmas. Samper thought his luck had finally turned and he would be able to play under the man he had previously hoped to work with for an extended period. Instead, he broke his ankle just a few matches into Jémez’s reign.
Samper is 23 years old and he had hoped to eventually break into the Barcelona team. He saw Sergi Roberto, whose career also took a while to get off the ground properly, as an inspiration. But the recurring injuries are destroying that plan. There is clearly a suspicion that the player’s body simply isn’t built for the top level, or that he’s hurt himself badly enough that it can no longer take the demands of La Liga.
We hope that isn’t the case. Samper has had enough bad luck to last his whole career.