Writing that headline was perhaps the last thing a Barcelona fan would have imagined a few years ago, but we are here and it’s deeply disappointing.
Sergi Samper has been a part of Barcelona’s youth system since he was six. That’s right. Nearly 18 years of his life, considering he is just 24, means that the defensive midfielder has more or less, lived and breathed the Blaugrana.
It is easy to imagine him training in the grounds, wanting to replicate what his idols did, hoping to become a mainstay in the first team one day. The world admired him, and Barcelona were fortunate enough to have a spectacular player like him in their system. It is difficult to tell the difference between his talent and his education, for it began so early. Regardless, his footballing IQ was always far superior to his peers and dubbing him the mini-Busquets, while a hyperbole, was an appropriate comparison.
Injuries can be hard to come back from and Samper witnessed this first-hand as he saw himself slip down the ladder and become more or less irrelevant with each passing matchday.
Terminating his contract might have been the only option left for the club, having waited for him to recover patiently for years. Despite all this, there’s a sadness to how everything played out for this wonderful chap who wanted nothing else but to be an important part of the club.
Hindsight is 20/20 but there was a lot that could have gone differently. Maybe under a different administration, with a different manager who utilised him better, we would have been writing a different story. But the hard truth is that one can only do so much when his body refuses to cooperate.
Samper may not seem like a big deal to many, since he barely represented the senior team a handful of times. But for those who followed his progress through the years, eagerly awaiting his explosion, this is a sad story of what wasn’t and what could have been.
I wish Sergi Samper the best of luck in all his future endeavours. He is probably one of the best talents to have come through La Masia, who struggled to cement his legacy in the fabled Blaugrana.