Okay, you can all read the headline, you know what the deal is.
But in fairness to Barcelona – a club who seem hell-bent on making stupid decisions, particularly in the transfer market – they don’t make too many errors when it comes to letting players leave. They generally have a good feel and read on when to shift their stars.
That said, there are still some that slipped through the Camp Nou cracks – players who Barcelona probably rued selling, sometimes against their better judgment. Here’s six players who fit into that criteria, starting with the most recent regrets.
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Ronald Koeman’s spell in charge of Barcelona was a disaster from start to finish, with his decision to sell star striker and club legend Luis Suarez to Atletico Madrid one of his first catastrophic errors of judgement.
The Uruguayan, though well into his thirties, remained one of the world’s most feared and prolific scorers. Lionel Messi publicly revealed his fury at Barca just throwing Suarez out of the club without hesitation.
It came back to haunt them. Suarez fired Atletico to their first La Liga title in seven years, pipping Real Madrid to top spot on the final day of the season. Barcelona would finish that season third, battling Sevilla for the metaphorical bronze medal.
The dip down from Suarez to Lucas Digne is quite a stark drop, but it’s still probably worth a mention before we talk about some other A-listers.
Will Barcelona fans lose sleep over losing their backup left-back to Everton? Probably not, but he quickly became one of the Premier League’s leading players in that position. That feels a little significant.
La Blaugrana, meanwhile, cycled through several unfit deputies to Jordi Alba, including Junior Firpo and Marc Cucurella. Not a catastrophic transfer error, but hardly a raging success those upstairs at Camp Nou will be raving about.
If Barcelona had to sell Alexis Sanchez to Arsenal in order to sign Suarez from Liverpool, then fine, it was a good bit of business.
But if they were able to have both of them in the same squad, then no, it was definitely not a good bit of business.
The Chilean forward was an immediate hit in England – remember the days of ‘#SSNHQSANCHEZ’? He quickly reached another level with the Gunners and would leave the club having scored at a rate of nearly one-in-two.
If Arsenal aren’t able to sign Suarez, then Manchester United probably aren’t able to either in 2018 and the world would never have been infected with that infamous piano unveiling. These are the real sliding-doors moments.
Thiago Alcantara – one of the most prototypical Barcelona players that Barcelona have ever produced – decided to leave the club in 2013 and rejoin former boss Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich.
“I played with a lot of legends at Barca. Then I struggled to play as many minutes as I wanted,” he explained to BT Sport earlier this year.
“Pep Guardiola left the club and signed for Bayern. He asked me what was wrong with me. Bayern’s decisive motive was: ‘I need minutes, I have to play’.”
For Barca to let a La Masia graduate walk away for that reason is truly terrible.
When Yaya Toure fired a shot into row Z for Manchester City on his debut against Tottenham, the general consensus was Barcelona were right to move on from him.
And then he became one of the world’s leading midfielders and Barcelona are actually a little fortunate that they don’t receive much heat for letting him leave.
That’s why we have this article. Barcelona, what the hell were you thinking?
One of the most iconic and gifted players of his generation, it’s a crying shame that Juan Roman Riquelme spent a single year at Barcelona before being forced out to Villarreal.
Riquelme has tried to dispel rumours that Louis van Gaal’s rigid tactics and management style led to his exit, though club legend Hristo Stoichkov has often fanned the flames of fan anger towards the Dutchman for his mishandling of such a talent.
Anyway, Riquelme’s departure allowed Barcelona to build around another flair player in Ronaldinho. The lesson here has been if Barca let a star walk, they have another lined up anyway.
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