For quite a few years, in a world that seemed to force soccer fans to choose sides in the Barcelona – Real Madrid classico wars, Barca always came out as the squeaky clean club, where everyone are friends, nice and moral. But Pep Guardiola seems to have a lot of feeling harbored against his former club, while Tito Vilanova himself, maybe part of the club’s wishes, attacked the man he used to work under.
And it’s not just the managers and former friends. President Sandro Rosell is involved as well. Attacked (verbally) by Guardiola, it seems that the man who plans on running and winning the election for club presidency once again is actually trying to reconcile with the Bayern Munich manager, in what might be mostly a political move.
And there was the whole Lionel Messi – taxes thing. In what should have been the quietest summer ever for the Argentine superstar, it turns out he hasn’t been being a very good citizen and mishandling his obligatory payments to the Spanish governments. In truth, it’s more likely that the people Messi has working for him, accountants and what not, messed this one up – no one actually seems to be believe Messi knows or handles his own finances.
And yet there are those who suggest the whole ordeal has created a rift between Messi and the club, expecting a bit more support from the team. However, none of that alleged “anger” has Messi asking for transfers to other clubs or stirred up rumors which never get linked to him anyway.
While David Villa leaving to Atletico Madrid had the potential of opening up some sort of Pandora Box, with people dying to hear if there was more to last season than simply Villa not getting enough chances or under-performing – as his disagreement with Messi on the pitch (more than once) is something some love to cling on when they refer to Villa leaving the club.
But for now, the managerial dispute between Guardiola, referred to as the greatest in the history of the club, and Tito Vilanova, who enjoyed an almost perfect start to his leading man role last season until his cancer treatments got in the way, and seem to be in the center of this controversy, is taking center stage. A blame game between the two – Guardiola attacking the club, and Vilanova attacking, or at least hinting that Guardiola isn’t as truthful as he might be suggesting in the German press.
What is the truth? My guess is Guardiola having a little bit of an ego-rush is at the basis of all of this. Barcelona and the big players, on and off the field, aren’t a bunch of choir boys, but there seems to be some personal tension between Pep and his former employers – much more than anyone would have guessed. Does it actually mean anything? Probably not, but without any league actually playing, that’s the best soccer fans around the world have to cling on to.
Maybe it all has to do with the rivalry between Bayern Munich and Barcelona. Bayern are now the force to be reckoned with the European football. Pep Guardiola might be making sure Barcelona know he’s not planning on making it a one-year thing.