Goodbye Sweet Prince of Argentina

Robbed of a goal, and part of a career

Yesterday, Barcelona released centerback Gabriel Milito on a free transfer to return to Argentina and play for Independiente. Gabby, was, among many other things, full of piss and vinegar when playing for the blaugrana, if not always healthy or, in his later years, the player he once was.

I chose the picture above because it basically describes Gabby’s time at Barcelona to a T. The above picture shows what would have been a game-winning goal that was disallowed due to a bogus offside call, though Milito was still giving his all on bum legs because the team was short in defense at the time. Just like the picture, Gabby had tons of promise and executed so very well, but his acts were cut short by forces beyond his control, much like the knee injury that kept him out for 602 days.

If you remember back to the 2007-08 season, Milito was one of the better players that year, but tore his ACL near the end of the campaign, a blow that would keep him out over a year and a half and see him return to a dim shade of his former self, at least in the games. He simply lacked the pace he once had, though his technique was still there when he could summon it despite the injury. Sadly, his 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons were marred with more minor injuries, though he did fill in admirably at the back during the defensive injury crisis last year, and never seemed to complain about his station or his status within the team. From all accounts, he was a class act at all times and wore the colors with pride.

In short, Gabriel Milito is a talented player whose time was cut woefully short by a nasty knee injury that sidelined him for too long and harmed his abilities, though he still worked hard after the injury, playing in many games for Barcelona and for his country, and now he is returning to his childhood club of Independiente. He finishes his Barça career with 1 goal, 10 trophy wins to his name, and other contributions we may never know about.

Thank you Garbiel, we wish you the best at Independiente and with the Argentine national team. Goodnight and good luck sweet prince of Argentina.

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images Europe

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  1. Vj
    August 5, 2011

    Farewell Gabi. Thanks for the performances. And motivation. I remember Pep using his comeback as a tool for inspiring us before the CL final in 09..

    He was this close to signing for the dark side save for the failed medical. Valdano had something to say about that. Thank God it didn’t happen..

  2. August 5, 2011

    One thing that should never be forgotten about Gaby and his contribution to Barca was the effect he had on Young Lionel, being a true friend to him, understanding him, making him good Argentinian steak and having an Asada and telling him to lead a professional life and rescuing him from the dim days of party and b*llsh*t he could have ended in by a greater influence from Deco and Ronaldinho.
    As some sources say, Gaby was the one person in the dressing room who understood Messi’s silence best.
    For that alone, he was a bargain of a deal.
    Farewell Gaby! More down with Independiente than ever!

  3. dennise
    August 5, 2011

    aaaand Arsenal rejected Barca bid. 2nd best barca -related news to me. (1st is ofcourse, Sanches.)

  4. barca96
    August 5, 2011

    -I don’t know about you guys, but I remember him more for the 1st season when he came in. He was a rock. I preferred him more over Marquez although Marquez was a better passer. But I just didn’t like the defensive lapses Marquez made.

    -Chamakh is up for sale. Maybe we should get him as a plan B. I always liked him.

    Cesc Pistol wrote a good comment.
    Here it is;

    Happy Birthday Kari! (belated? time zones are confusing..)

    Thiago got called up for Spanish NT good recognition for his work. I wonder taking his skills and deficiencies into consideration if he might be suited for a Messi-like role as a false 9 or a No.10

    I seem to be immune to all this Cesc talk. Lucky me I guess. Would be disappointed if he comes esp. for Arsenal’s valuation. BTW this whole Cesc deal has made like Rosell a bit, he’s going for Cesc because Pep asks for him and he was also part of his mandate unofficially but he has remained steady on his part and was prudent in the past as well. His statements like “I like a player who shows he wants to for come here” “We think the valuation of an ex-cantera is unreasonable at such prices etc” give me confidence. I do hope Rosell proves me wrong in due time.

    Talking about transfers one thing to notice is that Pep has been continuously reducing the size of the squad with the saving grace being our versatile players. Though we really suffered last year when he had a set-in-stone XI, minimal depth and no tactical options on the bench.

    This year we are stronger because of a)Villa, 3M, Adriano and sMasch’s second year, adapting well. b) Fontas and Alexis adding better quality depth. c) Cantera are better than last year. However the fitness of both Xavi and Puyol might be dangers we have not taken precautions for.

    How come no one is talking about these new European League discussions going on? As I understand Barca are in support of it. Could be significant.

    Also, the new stats app from fourfourtwo seems interesting, basically the CL one for the prem, I really hope they make one for La Liga soon.

    Finally what was the cause of the mass exodus of the cantera? What is the impact of this on the teams and most importantly on the mentality of players left? Do they lose confidence etc?


  5. Flippy
    August 5, 2011

    Ok so many people are worried about the small squad we had last season, and how its even smaller this season. However, I find this not to be the case:

    In the defense, we have exceptional fullback cover, with Adriano expected to improve, allowing Abidal to occasional fill in at the center back when needed. Last season, we had a few crisis in defense, but solutions were found in Adriano, Abidal, and Mascherano. This season, our squad has replaced an unfortunately useless Milito (on the field that is) with an up and coming Fontas, who will be expected to play more this year. Puyol is getting older as well as injury prone, thus he is likely to play less games, but I would expect Abidal, Fontas, or Mascherano to take his place when needed. Piqué has been exceptional at the back, and hardly needs a break, but Busquets or Fontas can take his place when needed. Our defense is very flexible and versatile, perhaps more so than last season.

    In the midfield, last season we hardly ever lacked players in the midfield with Xavi, Iniesta, and Busquets playing so many games that Pep underused his favorite Keita. Afellay and Thiago provide sufficient cover for Xavi and Iniesta, while Busquets and Mascherano are used according to the teams needs (usually Busquets plays, but sMasch is more than capable of filling in). Like our defense, the midfield is well covered by able subs.

    Lastly the offense has seen the most changes in the offseason with two players leaving, and one coming in. However, the two exiting players hardly played last season, while the Sanchez is expected to play a vital role as off the bench player to fill in for any of the spots in MVP. Afellay is also a capable sub. In fact, the bench for our offense has improved in the offseason in its ability to play a role in important matches.

    If anything, our bench has become more sufficient in providing back-up for the starting XI, rather than many players Pep has little confidence in to play a big role.

    • Calvin
      August 5, 2011

      I agree with everything except for the fact that Pep underused Keita. Keita played more games than Xavi and Busquets in the league last season. Actually, I’m fairly certain that Keita was the outfield player (non-keeper) who played in the most league games last season at 35 out of 38.

  6. K_legit
    August 5, 2011

    Pretty sure he scored more than 1 goal for us..2 would be my guess

  7. Josep
    August 5, 2011

    Has anyone seen that short 50 minute documentary on the barca real rivalry? I think it’s called “great rivalries in sports” or something it was on fbtz sometime back.

    it’s pretty cool, it’s from 2000 and they actually got Pep to speak out a bit about cruyff, the philosophy, and about the goal they were robbed at the bernebeau. worth a shout.

    if jnice is thiago I’m JDS.

    also; I love prostitutes

    • Vj
      August 5, 2011

      Yeah I saw that a while back. Did it feature a caricature of van Gaal as a face of bricks? I saw that one. That series also featured the Boca-River and the Milan-Inter rivalries. Nice..

      Tw Dos Santos: “Happy for the call-up of my brother Thiago for the national team of Spain! Congratulations, you deserve it!!” [@jona2santos]

      You related with Jnice?

  8. August 5, 2011

    And I just saw that Arsenal got Udinese for the CL qualifiers. 😆

    With RVP and Nasri also suspended (and Wenger himself), Fabregas is definitely not coming.

    • Vj
      August 5, 2011

      Birthday gift?

      Belated Happy B’day 😆

  9. blitzen
    August 5, 2011

    Goodbye, Gaby! Though he is not the player he once was, he was a linchpin of the team last season, and one of the most popular players in the dressing room. There are two moments of the last season that stand out to me and exemplify what he meant to the team and to Messi in particular:

    –when the fight broke out during that nasty Clasico at the Bernabeu, Milito immediately came off the bench and (along with Valdes) plunged into the middle of the melee–not to fight, but to drag other Barca players away and stop them from doing something they would regret or get sent off for. He didn’t care if he himself got sanctioned, his only thought was to keep his teammates out of harms way. I loved him for that.

    –when Messi scored his two goals against RM in the CL semifinal, the first person he ran to was Gabi, who had left the bench to run to the corner and meet him with open arms and a look of pure joy on his face. I’m sure Gabi would have loved to be playing in that game himself, but again, his only thought was for his team and his friend.I think Messi is really going to miss Gabi’s friendship and support this season. I know I will miss his positive attitude myself.

    • nzm
      August 5, 2011

      ^^ What blitzen says.

      Plus, his last defender tackle against Bendtner in the game where Messi cleaned out Arsenal in the CL 2010 quarterfinal at Camp Nou. If Bendtner had scored, Arsenal would have had a glimmer of hope to be back in the game.

      It was a defence that Mascherano was to replicate in the CL 2011 quarterfinal!

      See here for his manhug with Valdes at 5:03, and his saving tackle at 6:36: (and we’ll forget how he lost the ball for Arsenal to score!)

      • mom4
        August 5, 2011

        ^^Blitzen and nzm’s take

        You all knew him years before I started watching this stuff. I only saw glimpses of what he had been and his touching friendship with Messi. I wish him well in Argentina. Now more than ever I’m glad we have Mascherano(keep the flea happy at all costs!)

  10. blitzen
    August 5, 2011

    Just found out I won’t get to see Paul Scholes’ testimonial match after all. Stupid Canadian TV. 🙁

  11. blitzen
    August 5, 2011

    And big congratulations to Thiago for his first call-up to the senior NT. I knew it was coming soon, of course. VDB isn’t stupid, he wants to get a talent like Thiago’s locked in as soon as possible.

    Like I keep saying, this is a great time to be Thiago Alcantara. I hope this run of success lasts a long time.

    • Ryan
      August 5, 2011

      I’m really happy for him too. He has been doing so well for the youth Spanish teams, it would have been a real shame if he had joined another NT.

  12. August 5, 2011

    Good news for blitzen: Fabregas isn’t travelling to Portugal. Wenger says he’s “not fit to play” because he totally hasn’t been training for the last two weeks. Sh*t.

    Are Arsenal fans finally getting fed up at Fabregas? They’re about two years late…

    In other news, Dortmund is looking good. Make me happy.

    • August 5, 2011

      Okay scratch that, Dortmund looking incredible. Kicking major ass and talking names. Kagawa, you’re awesome. Definitely the team to watch in the CL this year.

      • Vj
        August 5, 2011

        What’s the point in replying to yourself when you can edit your comment?

        • August 5, 2011

          Plenty of point. For one, it leaves a bigger impact. 😀 #toolazytoedit

      • nzm
        August 5, 2011

        I love Juergen Klopp – Dortmund’s coach – affectionately known as Kloppy around our house. We follow Bundesliga because one of us is German. 🙂 He did wonders with Mainz 05 and then we followed him to Dortmund. He has a wonderful rapport and relationship with his players – kind of like a more openly affectionate Pep. He certainly knows how to get the best out of his team.

    • Vj
      August 5, 2011

      End it already, I’ve already dipped into next year’s stash of Hector pills. Maybe I need to set some aside specially for Cesc..

      • Calvin
        August 5, 2011

        You should consider asking your doctor to double your dose. Alternatively you could go for the Hector Pills XR, I hear they work very well.

        • Vj
          August 5, 2011

          Doctor? You can get a prescription? I’ve been buying them from Ek for peanuts all this time. No wonder they’re never available when I need ’em..

  13. August 5, 2011

    Arsene Wenger (coach Arsenal): “I love Fabregas and I want him to stay, that is basically it.” [via]

    ROFL 😆

    “Everybody is free to think what they want. We cannot stop people raising questions.

    “He is just coming back from injury and is not ready to play in a game. But he is not injured.”


    This is just comical.

    • August 5, 2011

      Why is no one laughing with me? THIS IS FUNNY. THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS TO BE DONE WITH THAT ARSENE QUOTE. /fakeoutrage

      • Vj
        August 5, 2011

        Maybe its the Hector pills.

        This might lend weight to all the rumors about his ‘affinity’ to young players. Or maybe its the Hector pills..

    • Roz
      August 5, 2011

      It really is funny. Plus that pretty much wraps up this whole saga.

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