Merci, Abidal …. aka “Don’t let the door hit you where God split you”


The club has taken a great many decisions in its long, storied history, but none that I find more detestable than the decision to say goodbye today to Eric Abidal.

This is a club that bills itself as “mes que un club.” That phrase has nothing to do with any footballing aspirations. It is socio-political, referencing the club’s roots as a Catalan institution, a place where more than football is played. It is supposed to be a family.

So THIS is how you treat family?

At the presser, predictably, Abidal was in tears, and broke down again while saying farewell to his second family, his teammates. It’s also a scene that should NOT have been played out in public and further, should not have been played out at all. Let’s have a look at Abidal’s history with the club, in brief:

–Signed from Lyon after going on strike to make his club accept our offer.
–Didn’t seem worth the bother as he struggled a bit his first season.
–Became for many, the best LB in the world.
–Left a note at Wembley after a France friendly, promising a return for the CL final.
–Diagnosed with what we later discovered to be cancer.
–Had a tumor removed, came back to lift the trophy at Wembley, in an astounding moment.
–Relapse, received a transplant.
–Battled to return to the club, did so late in this season. Amazing moment.
–Kicked to the curb.

That’s how I see it, anyhow.

This club has renewed Adriano for four seasons, a player who (yes, I am kidding) hasn’t played much more than Abidal has this season. But that was to squire Neymar around town, while he is recovering from his latest knock. Jonathan Dos Santos sat in the stands and played cards all this season, usually with Montoya as a partner. Bartra played some, because you know, he was looking pretty sad just sitting there. This same club, I believe, has a responsibility to a player that represents so much, and fought so hard to return to it. And it would have been easy.

Give him the full pre-season, and make the decision then. Give him a shot. Renew his contract on a one-year, appearance-based basis. Both would have been very viable options, that were not discussed at the press conference. When asked why the decision was taken, both Sandro Rosell and Andoni Zubizarreta ducked it, dodged it and ducked it again. Then some more. Rosell did say that “everyone agreed,” even as the player said that he wanted to play more, but the club didn’t agree with him.

He has been offered a position, whenever he wants, as director of the club’s global education, or some such crap. It’s hard to read press releases through a mask of tears. It is clearly a sop to make them feel better about cutting loose a player who I think could still be useful to the club. Sub, veteran stability, all assuming that he can reach even the level that he demonstrated in his appearances this season, never mind improving upon that. He entered both matches, and was instantly our best defender. Yes, they were Liga matches against lower-level opponents. Could he have done that against Bayern, or PSG or Milan? Valid question. Would he have been ready to do that next season, should we see any of those clubs again? Again, valid question. But the best way to find answers to questions is to ask them, not resolve them by never asking.

At the presser, Abidal said that he was concerned about how long it takes him to recover between matches, something that was alluded to this season, in the fatigue that saw him subbed out of his last match. And then came the phantom “calf injury,” and he hasn’t played since. He said that he didn’t have concrete offers yet, though I can’t imagine there won’t be a conga line of teams, wanting a potentially excellent defender, for free.

And so it goes.

This is a hard game, and difficult decisions are made all the time. And as with the true price of the Neymar transaction, there are questions we will never know, such as are there dueling medical reports, one saying that Abidal is fine, another saying that he isn’t? We will never know. What is more, I can’t say that I care. If they had those medical reports, why did they play him at all this season? Same risk. It isn’t just a bad sporting decision, it’s a terrible human decision. What if Puyol’s knee doesn’t come back the way he hopes? Is that a cough, Vilanova, or do we have to cut you loose? How’s that tendon, Xavi? You feeling up to it?

This club has, in very recent history, had a heart. It stood by Abidal during the illness, operation and recovery. It should also be noted that the process began last season, when Guardiola was here. The club couldn’t very well evaluate and kick him out then now, could it? But now …. now that he has played, and can sit beside his assassins at a presser and put on a brave, classy face as he always does, let’s do it now.

Surely, the technical staff had a hand in this decision, which means, again, there is stuff that we don’t know. And you know what? I don’t care. Sometimes, a club takes human decisions, and hopes that they work out on a sporting level. There were ways to give Abidal a chance to play again for the club that he loves. And we didn’t take them. Why, I can’t say, even as I can sit here and fume impotently.

From the club’s view

But let’s look at the other side of this. Recall that Tito Vilanova said that we are not a social club. What this presumably means is that his vision is to have a pile of players who can play at the highest level, all the time, any time. That vision doesn’t include Eric Abidal, who has lost a ton of weight, muscle and fitness that the technical staff doesn’t think that he will ever be able to recover. So difficult talks were had with the staff, player and club officials and a hard decision was taken that the player wouldn’t continue. But the club would grant him his freedom, to pursue his dreams of playing until he was 35, and offer him a front office job whenever, and wherever he likes.

This is the right thing to do for a player who has represented so much for the club, and means so much to cules. Most other players just leave the club. Thanks and good night. Abidal will have a job for life, whenever he wants, because whatever president succeeds Rosell would never have the gumption to fire Abidal. Voila. Sound decision all around.

So now ….

Abidal did say that he hopes that the club will let him play a little bit in the last match on the weekend, so that he can say goodbye to the fans in the Camp Nou. I hope that wish will be granted. He deserves that, even as he doesn’t deserve what the club has done to him. No, he might not be able to meet the level necessary to play for this club, but give him a chance. You want to be “mes que un club?” You do that.

Is there room for sentiment in business? Yes, though some say no. And sport, top-level football, is certainly business of the biggest sort.

But the decision to give Abidal a chance is also business, just as the Neymar signing is a marketing signing as well as a sporting decision. Giving him a chance would have shown that the club had a heart and a soul. The icon got a shot. Then, at the end of a match, or very hard practice, you give the player a chance to say “You know what? I can’t do it. You’re right.” Then you sit next to him at a press conference, and you let him announce his retirement on his own terms. And you give him that job with the club. And you smile, you all exchange hugs and it is a happy moment.

Instead, all we are left with is this sad, detestable display by a club that used to have a soul.


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Written by:

In my fantasy life, I’m a Barca-crazed contributor over at Barcelona Football Blog. In my real life, I’m a full-time journalist at the Chicago Tribune, based in Chicago, Illinois.


  1. BA
    May 30, 2013

    a shocking decision.

    but sadly unsurprising from the Rosell administration.

  2. Agree with each and every word.
    I am sad for Abi, and really angry with the Club. What I crave to know, is the stand of Tito in all this.

    Now, if the club thinks Abi is not healthy enough do they still think Tito will be fine for the whole of next season. (I sincerely hope nothing negative happens). Like Cruff said, didnt his absence caused us a lot of damage this season. What is the guarantee that it wont happen again next season, with Tito. Sorry, if I sound negative here. But I cant help thinking this way.

  3. May 30, 2013


    If Tito doesn’t give Abi some minutes this weekend, he is dead to me. Dead to me. I don’t care if we are losing the game. I don’t care about the 100 points if Abi doesn’t get a final chance to play at the Camp Nou.

  4. mom4
    May 30, 2013

    This sucks.

    We have at CB:
    1. fully fit, in his prime CB
    2. Aging irreplaceable icon who shouldn’t be asked to play every game.
    3. A DM who thankfully became a beast at CB
    4. A kid whom they didn’t trust enough to give some minutes to until they needed to through hin to the wolves in a CL game
    5. A FB who can fill in when not injured which is almost never.
    6. Busi and Song in a pinch. Let’s not go there.

    The profile of a CB for our team limits our choices of replacements severely.

    Tell me Abi and Puyol couldn’t have basically job shared as both are aging and have various and sundry fitness issues but bring tremendous skill, soccer IQ, passion, class and other intangibles.

    Not a good day.

    The timing. Was it planned to spring this between Neymar’s signing and his presentation as a diversion?

    • mom4
      May 30, 2013

      Dang, I type even worse when p*ssed. Excuse the typos.

  5. G6O
    May 30, 2013

    An act of monumental stupidity.

    We’ve been paying UNICEF a million and a half a season or something for the honor of having their logo on our shirts. And guess what, that was an incredibly smart move from a cold, rational, purely business point of view.

    It would not have cost much more than that to have Abidal be part of the team next seasons, even if he only played garbage minutes and sat on the bench most of the time. And it would have been a similarly smart business move as we would not have ruined the image of the club.

    Who in their right mind does that???

  6. kosby
    May 30, 2013

    I have mixed feelings. I am so glad we have a post here. I was/am anxious as to what would happen to this page. However this whole Abi business (no pun intended) is sad, just sad.

  7. AJ_10
    May 30, 2013

    Long time reader, rare poster, but recent events are just too upsetting not to.

    I simply cannot understand this move from the club whichever way I look at it. It makes no sense at all. How is Abidal not more fit than Puyol? Is it so hard for them to share minutes? Especially since we are looking for someone with the EXACT same skill set as Abidal? The club stands by him for two years, & just as he gets the green light & shows earnest desire to play, you show him out?
    He’s been training & practicing for over a year now, to show the world that he beat cancer & it’s not gonna stop him.That cancer can be fought & that it shouldn’t hinder your life ambitions. When he is finally ready to cash in on all the hard work , you show him the door??!!!
    Utterly despicable!!

    And with the other going ons at the club, the Valdes situation. The lack of communication with players. Muniesa contract situation. The Youth players lack of playing time. The alienation & uncertainty the club allows them to linger in.
    We were the club that proudly stood by our youth products.Pumped our chests in pride to field a full home grown starting 11.
    The only club to name a youth player for a CL game & have the whole world respect & not question him.The club that beleived that youth development was more important than results.
    I don’t get that feeling from the club anymore. The fact that Thiago, one of the most promising talents out of la Masia, is not rubbishing the rumors that he might leave speaks volumes!

    Add to that, the clubs reluctance to sign players on an austerity basis, tactical stagnation (although Tito out for three months can possibly be an explanation of this.),lack of direction, not releasing transfer details, although the president pushed for transparency.
    And the disgusting switch & bait the club pulled to get a sponsor.

    It’s just sad. Very sad. I’d rather get trashed 7-0 again in the semi. I didn’t feel this bad even then.

    Kxevin is right. We are not mes que un club anymore. We lost our soul

    PS. I realize many of these issues probably have some reason behind them (NOT THE ABIDAL ONE), but it’s so disappointing to see the club degenerate so much

  8. PrinceYuvi
    May 30, 2013

    So Abi has left. It’s okay because we’ve plenty of Able bodied, non-squirrel defenders, don’t we now ?
    Xavi was in tears too. Worried somehow the same might happen to him someday.

  9. May 30, 2013

    It would be prudent to listen to what Tito has to say tomorrow before blaming him. For all we know, RoSELL might’ve asked him to choose between Abi and a new CB signing. Unlikely, but not above (or should I say below) RoSELL to ask that.

  10. Rami
    May 30, 2013

    This is one of the rare moments that i disagree with you.
    So renewing for him last year wasn’t because of the board good intentions and heart, But because they couldn’t do it because they couldn’t do it with pep around?
    I can’t call This logical thinking, And has the ‘conspiracy’ type of thinking written all over it, Disappointed i have to say, Didn’t expect this in your article.
    There is nothing shocking with abidal leaving, The coaching staff must have decided that he can’t keep up with the club’s standard in terms of football performance, And i have no reason to doubt their judgment, They are the most qualified to make this decision, And there is no reason for me to believe that the board decided not to renew for him when tito thought he should stay, Now that just wouldn’t make sense, I try to remain logical and objective.
    I am proud of the way our club dealt with his cancer all these years, It makes me proud, Not renewing for him now wouldn’t erase everything all the good deeds we’ve done for him.

    • coaching staff must have decided that he cant keep up with the clubs standard – The same coaching staff who thinks Adriano – the one who is injured every next day – would be a better CB than Abidal (or if we can trust those reports – Adriano is fine, if Thiago Silva isnt available), the same staff who decides not to use and get some experience for players like Montoya,Bartra and even Thiago?? Thiago in the market, I believe, will be a catastrophe – as regards to our management decisions.
      I am slowly starting to believe that the best of our management and coaching staff turned over or are turning over, as Rossell came in and its peaking after Pep departure.
      I have a bad feeling that we might be looking at an even shocking season next.
      I was also proud about how the club treated Abidal with his disease. But all the goodwill is washed out , today.

      • Rami
        May 30, 2013

        Your views about adriano being a CB, Or the youngsters not getting enough time are just subjective opinions, For example i think adriano has been good as a CB, And the youngsters got enough time and none of them was treated undeservingly, You see they’re all subjective interpretations in the end, And of course the coaching staff have their own views about this.
        Just because you or i can’t interpret a decision they make, Or understand it, Doesn’t make them wrong, Or us right, I too didn’t get some of their choices, But i understand my limitations, I’m not there with the players everyday in training, So i can’t pretend to know better when i’m in no place to, The abi situation is the same thing, I don’t know what was the surrounding atmosphere that lead to their decision, So logically i can’t judge their decision as wrong or inappropriate, The most likely thing is that they did what was the best thing for the team and the club, I don’t deal with conspiracy theories.

    • May 30, 2013

      To be clear(er), the club couldn’t kick him out last year, while Guardiola was here because Abidal was still recovering. Guardiola, who has a hand in key player decisions just as Vilanova does, wouldn’t have allowed it.

      But also, the board didn’t have a choice. It would have been a PR nightmare to jettison a player still recovering from cancer treatment. “Conspiracy?” No. But certainly things were assessed, and the right time was considered. Abidal is now healthy enough to be jettisoned.

      Let’s go one step farther, to be interesting. If your “level” suggestion/standard applies to the entire roster, out goes Puyol, who cannot keep up with the club’s level of performance. And Xavi, whose tendonitis affects his performance, visibly at times. Adriano was just renewed for four seasons, and he can’t play consecutive matches without picking up a knock. Sell him, as well.

      Our coach is still battling cancer. What about him? Where does it stop? That, for me, is the fundamental question, and one that I can’t honestly answer.

      • Rami
        May 30, 2013

        “But also, the board didn’t have a choice”
        This is exactly my problem, You’re the under the assumption that they ‘couldn’t’ get rid of him not that they ‘wouldn’t’, And my question is, How do you know this?
        You have an already pre-determined view that the board are the evil men, And they wanted abi out all along, Which i think you can admit that this is a huge speculation from your part, And unless you present a proof of this, I have no reason to believe it.
        And the reason puyol, Xavi, And adriano are still around, Is because obviously tito thinks they can keep up with the club’s level of performance, It’s either this, Or he’s just biased.

        • May 30, 2013

          Please don’t make any assumptions about anyone’s worldview. That would be helpful.

          I don’t think our board “are the evil men.” I think they mismanaged this situation, as they have mismanaged many others this season. Nor do I intimate that they wanted Abidal out all along. I am not a sufficiently adroit writer to leave things between lines for people to interpret. What I wrote, and only what I wrote, stands as my view.

          I think that, as noted in my comment, the board’s hands were tied from a PR worldview. Period. Nothing extra lurks in there.

          Finally, you shouldn’t believe anything that you aren’t given proof to. That wasn’t the point of this piece. The point of this piece was to provide a jumping-off point for reasoned discussion about the Abidal situation. Thanks.

          • Rami
            May 30, 2013

            Trust me, I’m am trying to be reasonable as much as i can, I like to deal with facts, Avoid too much assumption, And of course try to be as neutral and objective as possible, And if you felt i violated any of those, You can certainly point it out for me, As a future reference of course.
            Now back to abi, Let’s be honest, None of us has any ‘real’ insight of what lead to the decision, And what went behind the scenes, The best thing any of us can do is try to interpret the most ‘likely’ reasons, And i emphasize on the word ‘likely’, And that being that abi was declared by the coaching staff and tito himself as no longer a player with enough quality to be a barcelona player for next season, And hence the the contract extension refusal, Again i don’t really know if this is what ‘truly’ happened, But it is the most likely, And definitely the logical and reasonable interpretation, And unless someone inside the club with a real insight of what happened, It will remain the best explanation.

      • Rami
        May 30, 2013

        By the way, I think the recent results of the team in the CL, And huge criticism that’s coming from the fans, And the constant demand to give the youngster play time, Might had some part in the decision, Maybe not significant, But the club is certainly under pressure more than ever, Which an extra reason, Why i’m not harsh with the coaching staff and the board decision.

        • May 30, 2013

          The club is under more pressure than ever BECAUSE they have mismanaged so many situations, not the other way around

          • Rami
            May 30, 2013

            No, The club is under pressure because of the humiliated exit against bayern and the bad results against madrid.
            Mismanagement is a vague word, And we can fit anything in it, It’s not helpful in describing anything.

          • May 30, 2013

            The club is under pressure from:

            – poor transfer dealings last summer RE: a CB
            – Lack of public leadership/defending the club
            – Poor handling of renewals for La Masia coaches (aka – they expire in a month and there has been no contact)
            – Poor communication with players about contract situations (Abidal, Muniesa, Valdes)

            Need I go on?

          • Rami
            May 30, 2013

            Lack of public leadership/defending the club?, Now this is another vague crisizim.
            And how did you know there was no contact with la masia coaches, Because it wasn’t mentioned in spanish media?
            Abidal’s contract discussion was post-poned after the neymar circus ends, Cause it’s obviously a complicated one, As for valdes and muniesa, There wasn’t any problem, One they simply didn’t want to renew for him and the other one wanted to leave.
            The only criticism i have is with the CB issue, And the bad choice of song, Yet i also give them credit for alba’s deal, Which is the best la liga signing and probably the best in Europe.
            Ask most barca fans on the street and tell them what they’re upset about, And they’ll all mention what happened in CL, And with RM.

          • May 30, 2013

            It has been all over the news that there hasn’t been contact with la masia coaches.

            When Mourinho was talking crap about the club did Rosell or any other board member defend the club publicly? No. That is part of their job. Now we see Perez vulturing in for Thiago. The boards response? Silence.

            The problem with the contracts isn’t that they weren’t renewed per se, but with how poor the communication between the board room and the players has been. Abidal and Muniesa commented on it, it has been apparent in the Thiago fiasco, etc.

            People are upset about the sporting results, sure. But that is temporary. The way the club is being run will cause problems for years to come.

          • May 30, 2013

            Calvin is right. The leadership point isn’t vague at all. Muniesa is the most recent example of someone only now finding out what their deal is. He even said that he wished the club had told him sooner.

            The press reports about the lack of communication with the futbol base had people being quoted, even if anonymously.

            The futbol base is the foundation of the club, even when it isn’t turning out Messis and Iniestas.

          • Rami
            May 30, 2013

            I can’t see how engaging in an unproductive public verbal battle with a maniac is doing the club any good, After all these years what did mou’s public circuses brought him, Other than a stain of shame in his spain period, I’m just glad the club didn’t stain themselves with him.
            Why didn’t you mention the club’s stand after the PSG refereeing disaster and their petition to the UEFA, Shouldn’t we count this in their favor, For the sake of being fair and objective, Or the club’s strong stand with tito after the disastrous 2 weeks of march, And the fact they didn’t chicken out, Again something that should be counted for them.
            And about thiago, Since when a club publicly discusses a player’s contract, It’s between them and thiago, Not the media, Am i missing something.
            I’m puzzled about the delays in ‘refusing’ the renewals, But on the other hand, I think they did a good job when it came to renewals specially for the main pillas of the team like, Messi, Puyol, And xavi.
            By the way i don’t trust zubi, And the board in general aren’t angels or infallible, But i think when it comes to criticizing you should try to be neutal, And bring ‘for’ and ‘against’ points, Instead of just ‘against’.

          • May 30, 2013

            I don’t have a strong opinion about the refereeing at PSG, and the boards response.

            Rosell backed Tito – just like he backed Abidal earlier in the season when it was a good PR move. Said Abidal would be renewed. And we know what happened.

            Renewing the pillars of the team is a baseline activity. I don’t praise the board for doing the very basics/essentials right, that should just be expected (and they didn’t even deliver on this, having not been able to convince Valdes to stay AFTER claiming his renewal was basically done).

            Rosell had a chance to put Thiago speculation to bed yesterday. He didn’t say anything remotely calming.

            I look for excellence from Barcelona. On the field and off it. Praising the board for doing the bare minimum correctly (which they couldn’t even do) doesn’t make sense to me.

          • Rami
            May 30, 2013

            I’m not sure what do you mean when say:
            “I don’t have a strong opinion about the refereeing at PSG, and the boards response”
            Are you acknowledging it?, Denying it?, What exactly.
            Not sure how valdes not renewing is a criticism, How can you force someone to renew when he doesn’t want to, You can criticize them if they hadn’t DONE enough to keep him, Not that they couldn’t make him renew, And until now i haven’t seen an indication that they deliberately slacked off when it came to valdes, And from likelihood side, It wouldn’t make sense, Because the headache they’re about to endure trying to find a replacement is much more than just letting valdes sign a sheet of paper.
            About thiago, Again how rosell is supposed to put things to rest when he doesn’t know if the player himself want to stay, It’s thiago who should’ve put the thing to rest, Apparently he did the exact opposite.

  11. Judas Pissed
    May 30, 2013

    So I assume we will see Vilanova be ‘let go’ as well in the summer too..?

  12. May 30, 2013

    To be useful to the team next season Abidal wouldn’t even need to be able to play against Europe’s top dogs. Even if he only played against Liga teams and in the Copa he would have been a valuable asset.

    This purchase also greatly complicates the CB situation at the club. Really need an established world class defender now, and there aren’t many around that fit the profile the club needs.

    Final thought – There is no health reason Abidal can’t play. After a transplant there really isn’t much danger to playing football (it’s not like if he had heart problems, in which case I would argue he absolutely should retire or e let go due to the danger of having him on the pitch).

    • May 30, 2013

      Yep. Abidal could have played CDR games, league games before or after important CL matches to rest our starters, & even come off the bench in “big” games when fresh legs and experience could make all the difference. This is a disastrous decision, both in sporting terms and for the public image of the club.

  13. lala10
    May 30, 2013

    @Rami: I think you are wrong on this one. Why did they persist with him in the first place? To dump him now? As Kxevin notes there were more better days to come to this conclusion. Renew his contract for God’s sake. Dont guarantee any minutes but assess things as they go. Abi is a gentleman and if he was not up to it he himself would have been the first to realise and then retire nicely. What did they do? From their actions it seems they had already made their decision. To me the Rosell did not cut him loose earlier because of the PR disaster it would have been at the time of his serious illness. They propose to give him a directorship as if he was going to occupy that role for free. This is a disgusting piece of management my dear cule. It stinks to the high heavens. In these lean times we cules here have been in disagreement most of the times. But not on this one. If you dont see it then you will never see it that way. But we are more than a club right?

    • Rami
      May 30, 2013

      How did you know that he didn’t care about getting any minutes?
      Once he recovered from his illness, It was the time to judge his situation as a football player of FCB, And what he can provide for the club, And the conclusion was that he is no longer fit to play for us, Asking them not to do this, Is simply asking them no to do their job.

      • May 30, 2013

        I don’t think this decision came down solely to fitness. He looked pretty fit when we got to see him play this season, and that was coming right off months on the sideline.

        Money/salary most likely played a large part, but that could have been handled better, as other posters have mentioned

  14. lala10
    May 30, 2013

    These are distressing times for the club. After such successes on and off the pitch these last few years i have a premonition that our glory days are slipping away. Do i have anything concrete to back it up? No but i consider: Peps departure was something so huge yet explicable it was something you could see coming but that still left you weak kneed. Somehow it left you woondering what the future held for us. In came Tito to fill the void and offer relief. But did we ever ask how such a successful manager came to that decision he made? Then Valdes abruptly announced he was leaving. The announcement drew mixed reactions but why did this uber successful suddenly decide to call it quits at a time the team is at its best? No matter how they tried his mind was already made up. Personally i am not convinced by the current supremo at all. Something is fishy here.

    Little by little i see our glory days waning. On field success comes in cycles but boardroom cunning should be a constant. Yet this was our most idle time to build a lasting legacy. I dont know, maybe i ramble beacuse i am hurt but for this club we all love Rosell must do better. Tito must do better. Yes he must. I hope my fears are ill founded though

  15. Ultraculé
    May 30, 2013

    I am so infuriated about this, that I don’t even feel like typing stuff. Rosell has taken this mes que un club business and shat all over it. Kxevin talks about soul. Some of it left when he plastered a sponsor on our unpolluted shirt. Today, I wonder if we have any left.

  16. CuleToon
    May 30, 2013

    Please, no more «We lost our soul». These people, Rosell and his cronies, have sequestered it, yes; but it’s still there: I can see it clearly in all of you, in all of us.

  17. jones.
    May 30, 2013

    These are the decisions that try cules’ souls. It doesn’t make any sense. People are trying to make sense of it by citing business reasons or football reasons or insert x –type of reason, but the fact of the matter is we weren’t given any reasons at the presser. If ever there were a time to proclaim good reasons for a decision, that would have been it. The lack of clear reasons given suggests that there are none. That is why this hurts so much. Because this was handled in such a poor way, particularly by Zubi who is normally so eloquent and was a comfort at the time of Pep’s departure, makes this situation that much more offense both to Abidal and to the fans. He deserves better.

    With that said, to focus solely on the PR disaster of this is a mistake. Of course it is fair to point out that this situation literally makes a mockery of “mes que un club”. Of course the timing of this announcement is more than a bit suspect. Of course that moral high ground cules are accused of claiming looks increasing level and perhaps depressed. However, Abidal is not a talisman or a totem; he is a person, a person who wants to continue playing football. It has been a while since the club has treated him as such. It is one thing for Tito to organically say in an unscripted speech that his struggle is our source of strength; it is another thing to turn that into some slogan. It is an entirely other thing, not a year later, to disrespect that “source of strength”, who incidentally is a person who has dedicated 6 years to the club, in such a callous manner.

    It really is hard not think of the club as transitioning into a new era. Keita’s leaving was bad, the treatment of the youth has been worse, but this is the worst thing yet. We can only hope that the remaining old guard will help the club maintain the essence that makes decisions such as this one hurt so much. We may rail against Rosell and the board and Zubi and Tito and whoever else we can think of, but the tears in the eyes of Abidal and of the players and the reaction of many of the fans do prove that, at least for some, FCB is still considered more than a club. After all, it is only where there is great love can there be great disappointment.

    I am absolutely gutted for Abi and his family and deeply disappointed in the club. I’m hurt and angry and confused and sad and I can only imagine how King Eric must feel. I wish him the best and feel nothing but gratitude, love, and respect towards him.

      • May 30, 2013

        As I understand it, Keita was a fiscal decision. He was about to get hammered by tax law. Some players, the clubs work out something to allay the severity of the tax bill. Keita was at the age and playing level where that wasn’t going to happen, so the club (almost certainly Guardiola) allowed him to enter a situation where he could leave on a free, for that last big payday.

  18. xdxm
    May 30, 2013

    I’d like to point out that not too long ago, when all the potential signings/promotions/sales discussion first started, there were a lot of people suggesting it best that Abidal just retire. This could have been from before he made his return I can’t really remember. But I know for a fact many of you advocated that Abidal just become an ambassador, which is more or less the position he was offered.

    I myself said the same thing. Abidal has given us his heart and soul but there comes a time to move on. Maybe this isn’t the time I don’t know. But I understand the decision. Assuming we sign a CB we will have 5 available CB’s on the roster. Add Abidal to that and that’s 6 CB’s. Not makeshift CBs real actual central defenders (minus Mascherano I suppose).

    There are rumors suggesting Bartra is going to be put out on loan. If that’s true then I don’t understand this decision at all. But I think it’ safe to say there were real concerns on how much Abidal could contribute. As a 5th or 6th CB option I’m not sure it’s in anyone’s best interest to keep him. I am aware of the cruelty of that notion, but I think when I get past my emotions it’s how I really feel.

    • May 30, 2013

      there were a lot of people suggesting it best that Abidal just retire.

      True, but to the best of my recollection that was before we had actually seen him play again. For me, he has proven that he is still a brilliant defender, only lacking a bit of stamina.

  19. dl
    May 30, 2013

    Hmmm. I guess passions really run high on this one, but I think it is a good decision for both Abidal and for the club.

    One important reason people succeed at the highest level of any sport is their incredible drive and belief in themselves. Often those attributes outlive the capacities of their bodies — we see it in puyol, but you can find examples in every sport –all–the–time. The fact that athlete xyz doesn’t want to retire and thinks he can continue is generally a subjective opinion that IN AGGREGATE is not supported by experience. Most soccer players are in decline by their mid thirties, no matter how much they wish otherwise. And of course no matter how loved they are by their fans, teammates, coaches.

    Yes, it is more than a club, but it is also still a club, and a business, etc. etc. I think the staff of the club actually have been thinking about the defense for years, and had as reasonable a plan (with the youngsters) as you can hope for. Imagine if, as Abi and Puyol hope, they could have continued another 2 years or so. That would have been exactly as much time as would be needed to work Montoya, Bartra, etc. into the team in a measured way. But their injuries forced that plan to be thrown out the window. Life (and death) happens. As incredible as Abi and Puyol are, they have finally reached, or will soon reach, the end of their careers. Wonderful, brilliant, love you both and thanks for the memories. It happens to every player. We have no choice but to mourn and remember, and give thanks for being able to share it.

    • May 30, 2013

      Very true, and thanks for the comment. I just believe that the very special position that Abidal’s illness and struggle with said condition, elevates him a bit from “just another player.” The special PR gloves should have been pulled out for this one, to my view.

      Your point is valid about an athlete not wanting to accept the end. But I wonder if in Abidal’s case, he feels like the end is artificial, that cancer stole some playing time from him that he would like to see if he can get back. And his match performances demonstrated that he has quality, from what I saw. But if an athlete tries and fails, that subjective opinion gets tempered by objective fact. I think he deserved a shot.

      Puyol is, I think, all but done as an automatic starter. And I think that like Abidal, he wouldn’t hang on if he couldn’t help the club.

      • dl
        May 30, 2013

        Very probably Abidal feels on the one hand something has been stolen from him, while at the same time feels incredibly blessed to have a second chance at life.

        I think there is a tendency among fans to see outrageous ability and achievement on the pitch, and think that that should transfer over into outrageous achievement and ability off the pitch. In other words, maybe we are all expecting a little bit too much nobility and perfection from the humans that are running the club, as well as the players (as people). Abidal seems like a really decent guy, especially AFTER his transplant. But by his own admission he was arrogant and self centered until he got hit hard in the face with his own mortality — it definitely put things in perspective.
        It is easy, from the comfort of my keyboard, to say the board or Rosell or whoever are a bunch of idiots, or that they went about things the wrong way, but when I think of my own life and mistakes, I can honestly say that in every instance I did the best I could, at least as I understood things in that moment.

        As regards your final comment about Puyol, I too like to think that he wouldn’t hang on if he thought it would be bad for the club. But, and this is the big but, will his evaluation of what is good for the club coincide with that of the coaching staff? Will he perhaps think, as many incredible athletes over the years have thought, that they have another year or so in them, when maybe, just maybe, they don’t? We’re all human, and I think it is good to have a bit of compassion for everyone involved, even those I am certain are idiots and villians.

    • Dani_el
      May 30, 2013

      Wow, I didn’t remember this. So, the board lied or it is a technical decision…

  20. barca96
    May 30, 2013

    Give him the full pre-season, and make the decision then. Give him a shot.

    Would it have been fairer to Abidal if we give him a pre-season and then tell him that we don’t need his services and then he has to find a club before the transfer window shuts down?

    Could he have done that against Bayern, or PSG or Milan? Valid question

    Well when I said that Tito should’ve make any sort of change vs Bayern, you called it absurd and said that no one could’ve made a difference. Abidal certainly would’ve given Bayern less chances to score.

    And then came the phantom “calf injury,” and he hasn’t played since

    You accused me being an armchair coach before for questioning Tito. Now I ask you, how do you know from your arm chair that it was a phantom injury? Do you really think Tito, the players and the staff would go along with this drama that Rosell is directing that you are implying? It sounds like a conspiracy theory.

    I really don’t understand why Rosell gets the blame for everything here. I’ve never had a director of a club telling my coach who to select for matches, who to play and who to sell. You guys gotta remember, the coach/manager handles the team selection, who to buy/sell.

    Obviously Tito didn’t think that Abidal is good enough to take part in many of the matches in which he was available. Or is it Rosell’s fault also?

    It has been clear for many months now that Tito doesn’t believe that Abidal has a future at the club, yet some of you are making it as if Rosell is a cruel man who is telling Tito, who doesn’t play Abidal and doesn’t show any sign of believing in Abidal, that he can go, just like that.

    I don’t like Rosell, but I don’t see a need blame him for every god damn thing that is wrong with the club. Rosell is scape goat in the cyber world it seems.

    Imagine if Rosell went against Tito’s wishes (to release Abidal, again, this is what I assume happened because the coach/manager calls this shots), and Abidal suffered a massive drop in performance, are you guys going to blame Tito or Rosell?

    I kinda felt this coming but it still hurts. It is comparable to when Van Gaal was sacked, the first time. I lost some of the pride and love in the club.

    • May 30, 2013

      The manager at FC Barcelona hasn’t historically been the only person making decisions on who to buy sell. That was a Guardiola phenomenon.

      For example:
      Laporta made promises for Beckham, and the decision to buy Ronaldinho was made by the board.

      It is not clear in this case at all who was the driving force behind not renewing Abidal. BUT it is clear that the situation was handled very poorly, and that does fall on Rosell.

    • May 30, 2013

      I have started commenting here because I am hoping to contribute to the tone by doing my part, rather than scoffing and leaving. So:

      (from above)
      Surely, the technical staff had a hand in this decision, which means, again, there is stuff that we don’t know.

      Rosell isn’t taking all of the blame in this situation. Coaches contribute to making personnel decisions that occur on their watch. It would strain credulity to assert that Vilanova wasn’t involved in this decision. The question is, what factors went into it, which is another part of the piece, which is probably more effective when it is used, in its entirety, as a launch point for commentary. Using out-of-context excerpts can be complex.

      One thing that Rosell is most emphatically to blame for is the leadership void, which we see in things such as the neglecting of the futbol base players and coaches with no knowledge of where they stand and now, this situation, which could have, and should have been handled so much more adroitly by a world-class club.

      Bartomeu made explicit quotes, promising that Abidal’s renewal was done, and as soon as the player played one match, it would be signed. Clearly, that didn’t happen. Bartomeu also said that the club was only thinking of Abidal as a player, rather than as any sort of front-office or ambassador type of personnel. As events have shown, both those statements are clearly untrue.

      As for the speculation about the quality of Abidal’s injury, some, including me, are using as evidence that in the Espanyol match, it was a decision of the technical staff that Abidal be excluded. This invariably means that independent of injury, a player isn’t selected for a match squad. This was rather sudden. Adding to this are Abidal’s statements from his presser, which cast more doubt on the fact that he was actually injured.

      P.S. One way that we are going to deal with aggressive, and aggressively personal attacks in this space before it goes, will be editing and if necessary, deletion of comments. We can discuss things in this space without attacks, “You saids” and recriminations.

      • TITO
        May 30, 2013

        Agree with everything that you wrote, just hoping that the mods actually delete and not just edit any comment that becomes personal offense no matter from who it comes.

      • “I have started commenting here because I am hoping to contribute to the tone by doing my part, rather than scoffing and leaving.”


    • Barka
      May 30, 2013

      I don’t know why you sound awfully angry all the time barca96, what with all the “god damn” and “hell” in your posts. Kxevin thinks Rosell is at fault, you think he’s not. No need to bring up what Kxevin said a few weeks ago.

      Calm down bro.

      • barca96
        May 30, 2013


        The “phantom” calf injury that you were referring to was the one he suffered during a match a few weeks back in the first half right? He wasn’t selected for the match squad vs Espanyol and I didn’t really expect him to considering that he is still injured.

        As I noted above, I too don’t like Rosell, for many things but the way things go here and else where in the cyber world, Rosell is the black sheep.

        btw just to make things clearer, the paragraph starting from I really don’t understand… wasn’t directed at you because you came with “from the club’s point of view” above which you put a very telling quote from Tito. It was directed to those that blame Rosell for Abidal’s exit.


        Do I sound angry? I can’t remember the last time I used the word god damn or hell. In fact, I was angry after reading the last post and here with the constant finger pointing at Rosell.

        And of course it does matter what x said a few weeks ago because what he said previously is how we communicate in the future. Everything is related. Otherwise I can just change my mind and stance every day right? I hope by taking into account what x said a few days/weeks ago doesn’t seem like a personal attack. Hey, when Kxevin called me an armchair coach, did I get pissed? No…. So why is there a double standard here?

        You are right about the Beckham-Ronaldinho deal but that was a presidential bidding thing that they have in Barcelona and Madrid. It’s not really a director telling the manager who should play/leave ala Abramovich.

        • May 30, 2013

          From what I can understand you were arguing that Abidal leaving was Tito’s decision. I only gave one example but could give many more. Point I am trying to make it that the manager at Barcelona doesn’t have sole control of the purchases and sale of players.

          We don’t really know in this case who was behind it. It could have been Tito leading the way for Abidal to leave, it could have been Rosell going against Tito’s wishes. Either are possible.

          Side note – Rosell sold Chygrynskiy against Pep’s wishes, and Pep had a lot more clout at the club than Tito.

        • May 30, 2013

          For the record, I do not, will not and have never called anyone a name. I am almost certain the phrasing was something like “it’s easy to sit in an armchair and ….” which is rather different from actually labeling someONE in specific.

          I think that if we react and comment on actual words, rather than nuance or reading between lines, which as I noted above, becomes complex, it gets a lot easier.

  21. TITO
    May 30, 2013

    I apologize for my language, but how the fuck do you let a person like that leave your club, no matter what?

  22. Jim
    May 30, 2013

    Can’t get as worked up about this as some. It would have been easier to offer a year’s extension so there is a perfectly sound reason why it wasn’t done. We just don’t know it.

    I would guess we are well on the way to signing a quality CB. I am sensing a harder Tito behind some of the moves recently though with this and the cull of loanees and youth player. Ive never thought the youth team was a good as some suggested. I have to say I quite like it although it does heap pressure on performance next year. The constant casting of Rosell in a bad light is a bit over the top for me. I don’t particularly like him – he looks a little strange to me – but I’ve not seen anything where I can’t see a solid business reason for it, whether we agree or not.

    • May 30, 2013

      What makes it a bad business decision for me, Jim, is the PR black eye that it gives the club. And ultimately, public perception of a business entity (dang, I still struggle to think of my club as such a thing) can indeed affect business.

      I think that the balance between criticizing Rosell and blaming him for everything from bathtub ring to trench mouth finds a proof in truth. My blame for Rosell exists in the way things are, to my view, being mishandled, in lack of communication with players and personnel, mostly.

      I don’t like his governance as the club president. As for him personally, I have never met the man, though I can’t watch “Two and a Half Men” now without thinking of him. Show used to crack me up.

      • barca96
        May 30, 2013

        though I can’t watch “Two and a Half Men” now without thinking of him. Show used to crack me up

        😆 or perhaps it’s the exclusion of Charlie Sheen? I keep on picturing Alan in a suit (like Rosell).

      • Jim
        May 30, 2013

        That’s the odd bit about this, Kxevin. As Rosell said in the presser the easiest decision would have been to renew. He can’t dislike Abi, it wouldn’t cost a fortune and I don’t believe he didnt expect this reaction. To me, and Ive never been Abi’s biggest fan, he has more to offer defensively than Adriano for example, although I understand the Neymar part of that.

        So why do it? It must have been part of a general decision to move on and reshape the squad which makes me think there is more to come. Emotional presser, though. Just watched it and you can see the affection in the eyes of all the players.

        • Jim
          May 30, 2013

          Btw, to anybody worried he won’t get the chance to say goodbye, I think you can safely stop worrying about that. It’ll be interesting to see if he is well enough to play the whole game and comes off with a few minutes to go or just gets a few minutes at the end but either way that’ll be the main story rather than the potential 100 points.

          • May 30, 2013

            I think he gets a late-match cameo. Also interesting that Abidal said there were no offers of yet. We will see if that remains true. I rather imagine there are a lot of private texts to staff and board members, wondering what they know and can tell. If I’m running a team, Abidal is worth a shot on a free.

  23. Barka
    May 30, 2013

    The club should have offered Abi a one year contract with the option of extending it for another year depending on how he plays next season. Leting Abi go while giving the fragile Adriano a four year contract is baffling to me.

  24. Judas Pissed
    May 30, 2013

    If Villa, Abidal, Valdes and Thiago are leaving – then Neymar is one piece of a very expensive replacement puzzle the club are going to have to complete this summer. Keeper (Reina/Ter Stegen/Muslera) and defender (Silva/Hummels/etc) have been discussed. Who replaces Thiago..?

    • Jim
      May 30, 2013

      The Thiago situation is a strange one for me. I don’t think he’s ready yet but while he possesses the skill on the ball he has there is still a good chance he can become world class.

  25. Judas Pissed
    May 30, 2013

    Also just read that Barca signed Abidal IN THE SAME WEEK in 2007 as they signed Thierry Henry and Yaya Toure. What a week THAT was..!

  26. Dani_el
    May 30, 2013
    It’s almost unbereable to watch Abi saying goodbye to everyone. Such a class act while doing the presser. He’s one of the persons in sports I admire the most. So my view on this is clearly biased, but I think he should have gotten more minutes, and according to that decide with a better view of his value as a CB in our club. The few games I saw him, he brought calm and good positioning to our defense. And let us not forget the force he must bring on the dressing room.
    I don’t like Rosell, though Laporta had some mafia’s don qualities some times, he stroke me as being himself always. I don’t see that with Rosell, but apart from his mishandling of Cruyff, Oscar Garcia, Muniesa, Abi, and the youth division in general, he just doesn’t seem to be transparent and honest to me.
    In a more optimist perspective, it’s interesting how much this guy meant for the whole squad and for all of us, to be having this conversation about him. He will always be remembered. I
    I hope he keeps on playing and comes to be a big mistake for us for letting him go. Maybe that way we’ll learn not to mistreat like that a player, a legend, but most of all, a human being.
    Thanks for the post Kxevin, and for sticking around and setting the tone for the commentaries.

  27. barca96
    May 30, 2013

    Do you guys who are putting the blame on Rosell really think that it was Rosell’s decision and not the coaching staffs’ decision?

    • May 30, 2013

      One thing to consider, as nzm points out to me, is an overrule, as in the case of Txirinski. Guardiola didn’t want to sell him, but was overruled, because we needed the money, said the board. And Guardiola spoke out, with the power of two excellent years of results behind him.

      But Vilanova has no such power. Maybe, just maybe, as nzm points out, he wanted to keep Abidal, but was overruled here, as well. It’s an interesting point that is worth considering, and one that hadn’t occurred to me until nzm pointed it out.

    • Rami
      May 30, 2013

      As i said before, The coaching staff had the biggest hand in this decision, From a ‘probability’ point of view, Because none of us really knows what truly happened.
      There is the possibility that tito wanted him but he was overruled, But we have to ask ourselves, What is the likelihood that actually what happened, And with no evidence to back that up, There is no reason to go into unlikely scenarios.

      • May 30, 2013

        Without any hard proof, I don’t see how you can even assign probabilities.

        Why is it more likely that Tito was the decision maker here? Logically

        • Rami
          May 30, 2013

          If you have a hard proof that points to a single truth, How can you have different possibilities?
          Overruling a coach’s decision is something risky, Specially after the bad eurpoean results and a strong intention to make everything right the next season, To save his face and the board’s, And it wouldn’t make any sense, Doing the opposite of someone’s request who he vouched for 2 months ago, And trusted him for next season.

          • Rami
            May 30, 2013

            I think we all know why ‘Chygrynskiy’ was sold, It was money needed from his selling, And liquidity problems that the club had when rosell first took over hence why the club also requested 150m euros loans from banks around the same time just to pay the player’s wages.
            There is nothing in common between Chygrynskiy and abidal.

          • May 30, 2013

            You said Rosell was unlikely to sell a player without his coach’s consent. I provided an example.

          • Rami
            May 30, 2013

            Actually what i said wasn’t the one-liner you just used, I deliberately explained it with 4 and a half lines in detail, And further explained in detail why Chygrynskiy is a different case.
            I recommend you avoid straw manning.

          • May 30, 2013

            It wouldn’t be surprising to me if Abidal was let go for economic reasons – salary.

            Chygrynskiy was sold for economic reasons.

            If that’s the case, the two situations are very similar.

          • May 30, 2013

            Think Calvin is raising the possibility that as with the Txigrinski sale and Rosell vetoing Guardiola’s desire to keep the player, Vilanova’s wish to keep Abidal might well have been overruled. Again, we can only speculate in the absence of actual knowledge.

            Some are reading silent protest into Vilanova’s decision not to occupy the podium with Rosell and ZubiZa.

  28. Jafri
    May 30, 2013

    There’s a limited number of first team places available, and maybe there’s a fiscal reason, but I don’t see the point of letting him go without giving him these next two months to prove himself. There was no hurry for this announcement. And I personally thought he’d be the best replacement for Puyol we would get.

    Merci, Abi. We’ll miss you.

    OT: What are the thoughts on the keepers we should go for? Muslera vs ter Stegen vs Reina… Who should we buy?

        • May 30, 2013

          Well, as a photographer I can tell you that that picture was literally a fraction of a second that may or may not depict all that can be read into it.

          Having said that… Damnnnn.

        • Jim
          May 30, 2013

          This is starting to take a slightly surreal turn for me. Tell me nobody is going to read anything into a still photo as opposed to a forty minute press conference which would suggest the opposite?

          • May 30, 2013

            The photo for me is just confirming the evidence that has been accumulating that Rosell and his board are particularly poor at dealing with the human side of the football club.

  29. chocoloco
    May 30, 2013

    The club’s video tribute to Abidal. JAMES ARTHUR – IMPOSSIBLE – LYRICS:

    I remember years ago Someone told me I should take Caution when it comes to love I did
    And you were strong and I was not My illusion, my mistake I was careless, I forgot I did
    And now when all is done There is nothing to say You have gone, and so effortlessly
    You have won You can go ahead tell them
    Tell them all I know now Shout it from the roof tops Write it on the sky line All we had is gone now
    Tell them I was happy And my heart is broken All my scars are open
    Tell them what I hoped would be Impossible, impossible Impossible, impossible
    Falling out of love is hard Falling for betrayal is worse Broken trust and broken hearts I know. I know
    Thinking all you need is there Building faith on love and words Empty promises will wear I know. I know
    And now when all is gone There is nothing to say And if you’re done with embarrassing me
    On your own you can go ahead tell them
    Tell them all I know now Shout it from the roof tops Write it on the sky line All we had is gone now
    Tell them I was happy And my heart is broken All my scars are open Tell them what I hoped would be Impossible, impossible Impossible, impossible

  30. Archie
    May 30, 2013

    I think the management at FCB is testing our text-based relationship skills by losing CL Semis and not rehiring Abi and all that other stuff with younger players that I can’t understand, too.
    -Archie the canine Leo

  31. K_legit in Oz
    May 30, 2013

    Rossel is infecting my club. Fuck off Sandro!

  32. Sangoku
    May 30, 2013

    As most here, I have a huge dislike – bordering on disgust – for Rosell and his administration. Since his appointment, we’re rather ‘Mess of a club’.

    I’m a fervent supporter of Abi too. For me he is, along with Puyol in his prime, our ideal defender. Plus, he is such an influence in the dressing room. After standing by his side during his battle against cancer, the obvious thing to do for the club should have been to renew him, especially after his performances of late.

    After hearing the news, I was at first outraged. But then I considered the situation which is as follows: we’re buying a new CB, we’ll have Pique, Puyol, Masch, Bartra. Would Abi have a guarantee that he’ll play a certain number of games and being a competitive professional, would he be satisfied with the game time?

    Puyol is ageing and declining but he’s still our leader on and off the pitch. Masch, when on form, does the job really well. And Bartra needs playing time. I’m counting Pique and the new CB as the standard pairing, so that means Abi would be 4th backup. Does he really want that? He clearly wants to play, not to sit on the bench and play once in a while, I suppose.

    There’s of course our curse of CB injuries over the course of a season, but you can’t give a player guarantee of playing time over that. I’ve also asked myself, what if he has a sort of relapse? Well maybe not relapse because the doctors say he’s ok now. But what if the strains of training everyday to be at the highest level and the exertion have an effect on his body? Who would the press start blaming then?

    Maybe I’m overreaching here. Thing is, when the real reasons are not being disclosed, we can only speculate. This administration is too shady to my liking. I know Laporta wasn’t an angel, but I wish he runs for President again come next election.

  33. ciaran
    May 30, 2013

    It is too easy to dissect this decision based on what little we know about it.
    I am hoping that it is a sporting decision based on the fact that we can only have 25 players in our squad, Abidal may not have been able to recover and may not have been happy with a pay as you play.

    It’s going to be interesting to see how the transfers do play out. The next purchase I imagine will be a goalkeeper as I expect Valdes to announce his decision to leave this summer tomorrow. I don’t particularly mind who they sign so long as they are genuinely world class. ter Stegen, Muslera, Reina or whoever else are all viable options.
    Once that is filled then I’m guessing a centreback will follow and I don’t know how much money will be left. It’s strange as there hasn’t been much talk about Hummels recently. I don’t know who we will sign but they also better be good

    • Rami
      May 30, 2013

      Agree, There has been strong rumors that tito wants only 22 players next season, 23 max.

      • May 30, 2013

        I agree with the 22 player squad. 22 players, all of whom the coach is comfortable with playing in any match. This will leave out the likes of Montoya, Bartra and Deulofeu, though newly promoted. The question is, who will it leave in?

        For me, Abidal showed enough quality in his appearances to be worth a look in pre-season. That’s why I wonder if something isn’t hiding in a medical report, as I suggest above.

  34. Rivaldo
    May 30, 2013

    Not here to create a war but just to let @RAMI know i agree with him here. This article’s angle seems a bit of more emotional than anything.

    You’re not alone @RAMI.

    • Rivaldo
      May 30, 2013

      Too me we’re playing the “blame-game” again

      • mom4
        May 30, 2013

        Along with the take sides game?

        Really, agree or disagree, I don’t give a flying fart which one you choose. But discuss; don’t finger point.

        And if there were an “angle” …and even if you deem it “emotional”…so be it. An author is entitled to both emotion and a flipping point of view!

        • May 30, 2013

          Actually, Rivaldo is right and wrong. Yes, the article contains emotion in the sense that it was fueled by feelings. But it is also speculation, and should be discussed as it is, rather than dismissed as mere emotion, and the “blame-game.”

          Surely you have something to contribute besides that, if you are interested enough to comment. This is a volatile subject. Note that both the sporting and business angles are covered above, from both sides.

          We can agree and disagree in here, but please …. let’s discuss it and raise the bar in the space.

          • Rivaldo
            May 31, 2013

            Point taken and I should’ve expounded on my point.

    • Rami
      May 30, 2013

      I appreciate you share my view, But i’d like to emphasize, I just disagreed with the way ‘Kxevin’ interprted the abidal situation, Not because of it’s emotional content, Everyone has one.
      Like i said previously, I love Kxevin articles, In fact he’s the reason why i visit this site regularly, And i certainly can’t wait for his next piece.
      This was just a rare moment where i found we’re not sharing the same point of view.

  35. Srini
    May 30, 2013

    Extremely disappointed with Abidal’s exit.

    People have made it seem that the defining story about Abidal’s stay with Barcelona was his recovery from cancer twice – one from occurence and one from relapse.

    What people forget is that Abidal was Barca’s best defender, even better than the captain at his best and Pique’s, during the golden period. And Abidal’s loss was irreparable to the defensive front. His combination of height, pace, ball retention, stability and composure was never managed to be replicated with replacements and has hurt Barca badly.

    There certainly have been misgivings with his recovery and doubts whether he would become the same player again, but there was no harm in letting him play for one more season atleast as a backup. With so many skills and assets, he could have served as a useful backup and added variety to defense.

    Alas, not to be, as a shortsighted board – it increasingly looks like a coach who is unable to drive his own legacy in Tito – has let him go unceremoniously.

    I just hope that this decision doesn’t come back to bite the Barca team.

    What Barca needs at the helm are visionaries such as Txiki and more Cruyiffites, not Nike representatives.

    • May 30, 2013

      Agree on the sporting side. If this was a sporting decision, it was a poor one. If it wasn’t, that’s even worse.

  36. Rami
    May 30, 2013

    I’d like to say one thing before i go to sleep, The fact that in December ‘Bartomeu’ claimed that abidal will get his renewal as soon as he starts playing, And now apparently they backed away from this, Emphasize even more that this was a sporting decision coming from tito himself, Otherwise why would they contradict themselves.

  37. ElJefe
    May 30, 2013


    We need to take this discussion from this Forum to a much wider audience. If you want to know how one becomes Real Madrid, it does not come with momentous acts or distinctively dastardly ambitions, it comes from selling away your principles one exception at a time. Always finding a new excuse or small print reason to justify.

    Spread the word. Rosell needs to be gone by the start of next season, or we will be Menys de un Club. And the only way to achieve that is to attack the Board members directly, and shame them, this is on them.

    • May 30, 2013

      Something to keep in mind is that “mes que un club” is more about our club’s historical relation with Catalunya than all the things we would like it to mean.

      And while I am not a fan of our current president, not by a long shot, I also want to remind everyone of the following:

      We were “mes que un club” during more than 20 years that Nuñez was president and if that soulless bastard could not destroy the spirit of the most beautiful club in the world, neither can Sandro Rosell.

      • ElJefe
        May 30, 2013

        Or we could save ourselves 20 years of soulessness and address this now. I vote for that.

  38. Alexinho
    May 30, 2013

    I’m sorry, I can’t quite match the outrage echoed by most of us here.

    I agree with the sentiment that maybe Abidal should have been given a shot in preseason, and do hope dearly that he gets some goodbye minutes this weekend. Tactically and in the “veteran presence” sense, the idea of keeping Abidal in the squad this year was intriguing, especially given the apparent lack of progress on a CB signing. Undoubtedly, he has been one of the best defenders for us–probably second only to Puyol–since I have been watching for a relatively few (seven, eight) years.

    But is this not the time to get emotional? This was always going to be a difficult day to encounter, but we’ve known for about two years this was coming. Until he returned to action, everyone knew he was not going to get another contract. Did anyone really expect that to change when he returned, which was always a possibility? I didn’t. My payoff, the payoff for all Barca fans, the squad, and the staff as far as I’m concerned was, the fact that he returned. It’s an inspiring story, and a tragedy, too. His release was inevitable.

    Should this not have been so public? Maybe. On the other hand, how can you keep this quiet? Was the timing bad? Maybe, I definitely would have liked the news to wait. Another way of looking at it is that a press conference was called to break bad news a long, long time in the making, to give public praise from the president’s and sporting director’s mouths for a player who has worn his heart on his sleeve.

    TotalBarca put up an article asking if Abidal was “taken advantage” of. I can’t agree with this. I don’t think this makes Barca a club that his sold its soul, by any means. It’s just an unfortunate situation for all involved.

  39. Alexinho
    May 30, 2013

    On another note, there are some weird rumors swirling around.

    -Thiago and Fabregas. Just come out already and say you’re not going to England. Don’t say you’re happy “but we will see what happens after the Euros” (whatever that means…they’re not until 2016??), or that you don’t listen to rumors but “only I know my future.” These rumors will be true until proven false they way the players are handling them.
    -Puyol to give a press conference. Wwwhhyyy….
    -Valdes to give a press conference. Less speculation necessary. But Victor, what is up with your apparent pushing for a free transfer? You don’t want to get a transfer fee for the club you’ve spent ten years with? You don’t think suitors will pay it? That’s not how it’s done.
    -All quiet on the CB front.
    -Not loud or exciting enough on the GK front.

    Weird, weird, weird.

    • May 30, 2013

      Word is that Vilanova had a sit-down with Thiago, to make it clear that he is in the club’s plans, and he should stay. The club will also throw some more money at him in the form of a raise, to underscore that value. Now he has to decide, but I don’t expect he’s going anywhere.

      • lala10
        May 31, 2013

        thats leadership; fast and decisive. But one cant help but wonder what Roura was thinking when he said it was not the coaches job to know what the players contracts were. Thiago is the future so keep him.from what i have seen so far thiago is a better xavi replacement than fabregas.

        • Rami
          May 31, 2013

          Because it’s actually not their job to worry about this, Players are picked to play based on the opponents, And their performance in training, Not contracts.
          Buyout clauses are worthless if the player is not interested in leaving, No one thought that thiago is even considering leaving, No one doubts that thaigo is a player for the future, He himself know this, And the solely one to blame for this whole fiasco, Is thiago.
          Actually i’m not happy about what he did, It seemed like a way to force or blackmail the coach to give him more playing time or get a raise, Because if his intent was just leaving he would’ve already reached an agreement with another club, Without the need to create a circus.
          If he thinks he deserves more playing time, He should work hard and show his abilities in training, And earn tito’s trust, Not using some cheap threats.

  40. nia
    May 30, 2013

    While I’d love to think that Rossell and co are coming from a sporting perspective, I think had Abi been catalan, it would have been a different story. Although I think I understand, I wish the club would have made his a special case. I don’t think Puyi or Adriano are going to play anymore games than Abi would have managed to in the coming season. If this directive came from Tito himself then, he of all people should understand.

    We would probably not know all the details but, I think the wrong decision was made. The club didn’t want to carry a passenger and by Abi admitting that he took longer to recover after the few matches he played, I think they could have made a compromise. I am personally speaking from the heart and I would like to have seen him retire at the club but, I guess after all that they’ve been through, it is a business after all. “Mes que un club” my ARSE!!!!

    • Roberto Senyera
      May 30, 2013

      I agree with your cynicism. If Abidal was a Catalan he would not have been released.

      If Pepe Reina wasn’t a la Masia product we wouldn’t be interested in him.

  41. May 30, 2013

    Hmmm, 22 players, eh?

    GKs: ???? and ????
    FBs: Alves, Adriano, Alba, Montoya
    CBs: Pique, Puyol, Bartra, Mascherano, ????
    MFs: Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Thiago, Song, Fabregas
    FWs: Messi, Neymar, Pedro, Tello, Sanchez

    In the summer, Valdes, Villa, Abidal and everyone already on loan is sold, and off we go. Yes, I would go to war with that group. I suspect the keepers are going to end up Reina and Ter Stegen. Too much smoke for there not to be a fire. That defender? Suddenly the Luiz stuff has some traction, much more than Hummels. I rather imagine that next month, it will be someone else.

    • K_legit in Oz
      May 30, 2013

      I’d wager Sandro will go for Luiz (that whole Brazilian fetish he has). As for the GKs, no idea. Reina is great at distribution but he has not had a good season. Ter Stegen is young and so would be a good investment. Pinto will hang around as well I feel.

      Damn I can’t think logically after the whole fiasco yesterday.

      • Roberto Senyera
        May 30, 2013

        I remember Pinto signing a one year extension recently. So, count him as one of possibly three GKs next season.

        I don’t see us getting Luiz. His defending is not his strength (and we need a defensively strong CB), Chelsea is not a selling club, and Mou Mou wouldn’t let FCB have him.

  42. Roberto Senyera
    May 30, 2013

    I’m a wee bit ambivalent on this issue and can see both sides on this one. Abidal is about to be 34 this summer and hasn’t played much these last two years. But he’s such an inspiration for everyone at the club. It was never going to be an easy decision.

    What I can say is, “Merci King Eric”.

    • Same here.

      I can see both sides of the coin in regards to why this decision was made. However, considering how self-righteous Rosell is in general, and the image the club has built for itself in over a century of its existence, this leaves a terribly bitter taste in the mouth.

      This is “Football” Club Barcelona, and football, like sport in general, is far far more than just a business. Whatever the decision, I think it could have been handled in a far more dignified manner. Abidal saying he would have liked to continue, with Rosell sitting next to him saying all parties agreed seems like quite a farce. None of us know who’s decision it was, but irrespective of that, the seemingly complete lack of a human and emotional side to this administration pains me.

      A couple of details that I thought were worth pointing out are:

      a. Tito was not part of the team giving the presser. The notion of this being a silent protest was mooted. Who knows?

      b. Abidal or his agent had mentioned a few weeks back that while the board said they would only open contract talks at the end of the season, they wanted to finalize it much earlier. This probably led the club to take a decision based solely on the current situation.

  43. chillipod
    May 31, 2013

    Overall, as much as it pains me to say it, I’m siding with the club’s decision here. Boo and hiss if you like!
    From a purely sporting point of view you’d assume the season has been reviewed and conclusions made. The hard fact is that injuries at the wrong time of the season derailed us from turning a good season into a great one (well, that and a terrific Bayern side!).
    So, to head into a new season with that much maligned defence ageing still and definite question marks over Puyol and Abi just doesn’t make sense. Abi’s body has been through more than we care to think about but 5 (Puyol) + 22 (Abidal) =< 60 (randomly selected number of games next season). Add to that equation Adriano and you probably don't get a full 'head' out of 3 players (all in defence).
    From the above posts and club announcements, there was sufficient justification to keep Adriano (Neymar/Age/Versatility). Puyi is our Capi and Catalan so there wasn't really a lot of option, given this alleged squad size policy from Tito, other than to let our beloved french greyhound go.
    In offering Abi a role whenever he wants it we have done the correct thing and it's now up to him to control the last years of his playing career. He'll be welcomed back with open arms whether it be as opponent, visitor or employee and whilst this situation has been managed badly I feel it's the right – and only – logical decision from a sporting perspective.
    At some point this year Kxevin (I think) made a point about nobody being bigger than the club itself and he was right. We have nursed Abi back to full(?) health, supporting him all the way and have given him some of the best moments of his career. He's been an inspiration and a fantastic example of what dedication, hope and perspiration can achieve.
    Not all love affairs end well, but this one might yet do so, albeit in a different guise in years to come,
    Visca Barca

  44. May 31, 2013

    I was on the fence about this one, so I didn’t want to comment too much until I saw the press conference. I watched it and it was heartbreaking. During and immediately after I was really upset with our club, so I decided to sleep on it.

    Tell any player that he can no longer continue at his club, hell, any athlete that he will get cut, and the reaction will not be an emotional one. It is an aspect of their jobs we, the public, are rarely privy too. Now for once we were, through this press conference, and the fact that it concerned a special person, Eric Abidal, makes the decision even more difficult to accept.

    I myself do not agree. I think we could have kept him on for another year as a 23rd or 24th player. I believe that his story is so powerful, so inspirational, that regardless of how much he would contribute on the pitch, his presence will strengthen our squad.

    However, all this talk about how our club have done him wrong, how we have treated him badly, and so on… People are acting as if we have “done” something to him.

    What we have done to Eric Abidal is to pay him extremely well to play the game he loves for six years. The last two of these years in which he got sick we have stood by him every step of the way on the road to his recovery. We have offered him a beautiful job (director of all our academies worldwide) for whenever he wants to come back.

    Has the club “done” something to him? Yes. The club has treated him better than 95% of employers in the world treat their employees. I admit that emotionally it doesn’t feel that way, and like many I am very disappointed with this decision but looking at it as objectively as I can, we have treated king Eric very well.

    Merci roi, y a bientôt j’espère!

    • Rami
      May 31, 2013

      I agree, It’s not easy to be objective about this, Everyone loves abidal, And unless someone has a heart of steel, We can’t help but to be sad at his departure, Seeing him cry is unbearable.
      Yet one has to say, The reactions were way over the top in my opinion, I’m not talking about this blog in particular, Everywhere, You’d think the abidal was ‘kicked out’ through back the door, And if it’s true, Then it has to be one of the fanciest kicks i’ve ever seen.
      From my perspective, Abi simply wanted to continue playing football with our team, The club didn’t find him to be good enough or able to keep up with the squad’s requirements, Hence they offered him to stay in the club but not as a football player, But the player didn’t want to retire yet.
      Some say they could’ve made an exception to him, Yeah sure, And like rosell said it would’ve been easier just to say ‘yes’ to him, But we must ask this question to ourselves:
      Would it had felt right keeping a player which they feel he’s not good enough to be there?

    • dl
      May 31, 2013

      +1 again. Merci Eric, and we hope to see you involved in the club for the rest of your life. Every player has a last game, and while it would be great if they were always Hollywood endings, the world is not Hollywood.

      • May 31, 2013

        And we should also look at what Abidal did for the club, as we look at what the club did for him. Obligations cut both ways. The club made him a millionaire and a famous athlete. Abidal became the best LB in the world, and was a crucial part of the many, many championships that the club won when he was a force on the pitch.

        For me, as I have noted, it’s a simple PR gaffe. Abidal’s situation makes him mes que un player if you will. His performances during his appearances this year also argue that he is worth a look when he gets fully fit, even in his current context.

        But none of us can know what the club knew, what its doctors told them and what Abidal knows and maybe isn’t admitting to himself. His surgeon said that he was good to go, full-speed. But anyone can find a doctor who is willing to say anything they like (no offense meant to any doctors in the house).

        For me, the club dropped the ball when it didn’t have to, from as objective a view as I can muster. Prima facie, the club had nothing to lose by giving him an opportunity in pre-season, and everything to gain. It stood behind him during his illness, and is giving him a shot to prove himself, now that he is back. Lots of “Awwwww!” moments there.

        And if he can come back, the club gains a defender for a season, which is all Abidal wants, as he said in the presser that he wants to play until he is 35 (he’s 34 now). I agree with Levon about the strength of his presence, assuming that he can still play.

        If he finds that he can’t, club and player agree to part ways, cules are happy, the press is happy, image is preserved, no loss at all in any way. I just think there was a better way to do it.

  45. May 31, 2013

    The club is going to have a farewell presentation for Abidal after the match on Sunday. What that says about the odds of him getting his wish and seeing some playing time is anyone’s guess.

  46. May 31, 2013

    The Puyol presser is also raising a lot of questions, in context. When he reinjured himself, Puyol offered to rescind his fresh renewal. Rosell said “Nonsense,” and they renewed him.

    His knee operation was supposed to take 30 minutes. It took more than 2 1/2 hours. There was only one match this season in which he wasn’t suffering discomfort.

    Now, he is recuperating, feels good, and is going to see if he can get to 100%.

    I asked some honest questions on Twitter, and will ask them here, about parallels:

    –If Puyol can’t get to 100%, is there another presser with Rosell and ZubiZa?

    –Puyol relapsed, and suggested that he not renew. The club said no.

    It’s why I think there is a time bomb in the Abidal medical report. The two situations are analogous in many ways, but received very different treatments. It makes me think there is no hope that Abidal could be, in the eyes of the technical staff, a useful part of the team, or there is something biological (for lack of a better word) that is worrying the club.

    • Rami
      May 31, 2013

      They aren’t analogues…..yet, Abidal already overcome his problem, And resumed normal training with the squad, And was subsequently evaluated from an athletic side like everyone else, On the other hand Puyol is still actively trying to overcome his condition, It’s too soon for the club to dismiss him as a lost cause, Or a hopeless one, He may be able to resume normal squad training and remain a productive member of the team, Or he may not, And suffer the same fate as abidal, It’s still premature to compare puyol with abi, Let’s wait and see how it’ll all turn out.

      • May 31, 2013

        Absolutely. Not direct comparisons, but certainly parallel points that make the two cases interesting. I heard from a surgeon via Twitter who talked about how hard that comeback must have been. Lends further credence to my notion that there is something in the medical report that is a potential time bomb. Only explanation.

        That presser, by the by, was effectively Puyol saying that he will be retiring soon.

  47. dl
    May 31, 2013

    Puyol and Abi are both massively competitive. Both to make it to the top of the champions league and to fight back after huge injuries. There’s no such thing as a man of steel, though. In Puyol’s case, playing top level sport on rebuilt knees may work for another year, but if he did he would probably be facing knee replacements at the age of 50, rather than at the age of 65 or something (given the current likely condition of his cartilage). Not that I really know what his knees look like inside, but a simple arthoscopic procedure to trim a meniscus (I’ve had them done) is 30 minutes, NOT 2+ hours. In his more quiet moments he is probably thinking about that. Abidal got –a new liver!!– for god’s sake! Sure, we’re kind of inured to modern miracles like that, but the fact that he is even alive really is miraculous. These are all tough realities, and maybe the management really hasn’t been as elegant and graceful as we all want, but ease up folks. Nobody is happy about it, but certainly brewing up all this bile about how evil Rosell is certainly not helpful.

  48. fiazhamsath
    May 31, 2013

    I don’t care we lost 7-0 or 14-0 in a CL semi final. But FC Barcelona has let me down, as a club for the first time after this. Not so proud about this club’s decision, nor with how the club is run now.

    Guardiola (March 16, 2012): “For Barcelona to renew with Abidal when they knew he’d need liver transplant shows the greatness of this club.”

    That was Mes que un Club, not this.

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