President and co-owner of AS Roma, James Pallotta, is either joking in his comments about Barcelona following the Malcom transfer saga, or simply way too naive when it comes to understanding what a dirty business European football is.

Pallotta, who is also a shareholder in the ownership of the Boston Celtics, spoke to SiriusXM FC 157 and criticized both Barcelona and Bordeaux for their part in Roma not being able to sign Malcom, despite passing him through a medical and being on the verge of landing the talented Brazilian.

According to Pallotta, Barcelona acted unethically and immorally, and he does not accept their apology. Pallotta also joked Barcelona should send them a player in return as an act of good faith. Perhaps someone like Lionel Messi.

But while it’s easy to see why Pallotta and Monchi (the Roma Sporting Director) are furious with the conclusion of this deal, there’s nothing surprising about it. Roma didn’t have anything signed with Bordeaux, only an agreement. And while many clubs wouldn’t swoop in at the last minute like Barcelona did, it’s part of the business of football.

Many things have been said of how Barcelona plan, or don’t plan to be more accurate, seeing their bid for Willian rejected again and again, turning their attention to Malcom hours before it was too late. They put in a better offer than Roma which was matched by the blindsided Italian club, but by that time Malcom had already agreed to terms with Barcelona, with his agent obviously also having a hand in all of this.

Being gentlemen, ethical and moral is nice, but not in football. Not for teams who plan on being the best. Champions, something Roma haven’t done since 2001. While cheating is and shouldn’t be considered, being “dirty” but legal is part of the M.O. of big clubs. Has been since the dawn of time. If Roma plan on being part of that fraternity at some point, they better realize playing nice isn’t going to get them very far.