Until recently, Barcelona was not only the most successful team in European soccer; it was also the most virtuous. UNICEF’s logo was emblazoned on its jerseys. Its coach, Pep Guardiola, won admirers simply for not being Jose Mourinho. In 2011, longtime captain Carlos Puyol let his teammate Eric Abidal, who had been treated for cancer, lift the Champions League trophy at Wembley.
But as Barcelona’s dominance has eroded – last season, the team didn’t win a single trophy – the club has gradually surrendered its moral high ground. I don’t need to remind you that Luis Suarez made his Barca debut on Monday. Or that a Qatari airline now sponsors the team’s jerseys. Or that Lionel Messi may have committed tax fraud.
Earlier today, FIFA upheld the two-year transfer ban it imposed on Barcelona in April. Apparently, while we reveled in the talents of homegrown stars like Xavi and Iniesta, Barca was illegally importing underage players to its academy. I am thoroughly disillusioned.
You imply that giving those youngsters an opportunity to grow in La Masia is immoral? Because it breaches those stupid UEFA/EU rules?
Not necessarily “immoral” (I’d have to evaluate the signings on a case-by-case basis, which is impossible since the players’ names haven’t been revealed) but not classy/virtuous, either. Plus it’s only the latest example of Barca’s misconduct.