Malcom’s farewell to Barcelona reminds me of those goodbyes you see at the airports, the ones that are hard to watch because of all the emotions that surface.
Just one year ago, Malcom was over the moon to sign with Barça, making a complete U-turn on his AS Roma deal so he could rep the Blaugrana shirt. But looking back now, it doesn’t seem as though all the effort was worth it. In the end, his goodbye to the Camp Nou concluded like the finale of Friends: very, very bittersweet.
Malcom is not to blame for his quick exit
Malcom deserved more. He deserved more playing time, he deserved more chances and most importantly, he deserved respect. The Brazilian’s childhood dream of playing at Barça only lasted one single season, in which he barely racked up a thousand minutes. The fire that was burning in his soul to succeed at the best club in the world was put out like a whirlwind. And who is to blame? The answer is simple: the board, those involved in signing a player that coach Ernesto Valverde never wanted to begin with, and therefore never trusted the Brazilian to show himself on the pitch.
Yet despite the manager’s distaste of the footballer, Malcom always exhibited hunger and determination the second he stepped on the pitch, fighting for every ball. Valverde started him in 11 games out of the 24 he participated in during the 2018/19 season, with Malcom scoring four goals along the way. And I think it’s safe to say his debut goal and emotional celebration against Inter Milan in the Champions League is one that will be hard to forget, speaking volumes about his character and willingness to thrive with Lionel Messi and Co.
The player wanted nothing more than to be an integral part of the team and succeed, but he was never appreciated or utilized and that was the problem from the get-go.
This Friday, the Catalans confirmed that Russian club Zenit have paid €40m plus another €5m in add-ons for the player. It’s a bittersweet ending for a player that could’ve gone a long way at Barcelona, but ultimately ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. I hope Zenit value Malcom for the player he truly is because Barcelona never came close to that.