Florentino and Di Stéfano,

From Maradona to Messi: Barça’s determination to dismiss their idols badly

The Barça team is accustomed to traumatic ruptures with its main figures. Maradona, Cruyff, Ronaldo Nazario or Figo left the club without honors

A curse haunts Barça. He has always been unable to offer his great idols a farewell at the height of everything they came to mean for the entity. The goodbye of Leo Messi will be added to a large list of stars who, for one reason or another, ended up leaving the Camp Nou through the back door, without more than deserved honors.

There are too many. In 1984, just two years after landing at the Camp Nou after paying 1,200 million pesetas, Diego Armando Maradona packed his bags to join Naples. A harsh three-month sanction, for violent incidents in the 1983 Cup final against Athletic, and the fact that Josep Lluís Núñez, apparently, already knew about his stunts with narcotic substances precipitated the departure of the then-best player in the world.

Traumatic was also the departure of Bernd Schuster. The German midfielder’s clash with Núñez after his shock when he was traded in the 1986 European Cup final, in which Steaua would win on penalties, was the beginning of the end. The team had three more foreigners, Lineker, Hughes, and Archibald, and could only field two. He refused to renew and after the 1987-88 campaign, with the letter of freedom under his arm, he joined Real Madrid.

The German, for very little, was not under the orders of a Johan Cruyff who marked the history of Barça in the eight seasons in which he occupied the Camp Nou bench. He won the first European Cup in the club’s history, four Leagues, a Recopa, a Copa del Rey, three Super Cups, and a European Super Cup, but his departure from the entity in 1996 was problematic. The Dutchman was fired lightning-fast on the penultimate day of the League, as Núñez would later reveal, between “flying chairs” and “telling the dead.” There the last dichotomy was forged that has so marked a club apparently condemned to Jainism, the one that divides its fans between cruyffistas and nuñistas.

Núñez spared no means to build a very competitive bloc for the 1996-97 season. But his great star, the Brazilian Ronaldo Nazario, only lasted one season. Barcelona paid PSV 2,000 million pesetas to acquire him and imposed a termination clause of 4,000 million that, he believed, no one would be willing to pay. The Brazilian, who was only 19 years old at the time, marked a dream season with incredible goals. One of them, in fact, the one that marked Compostela, was chosen by Nike for an advertisement. Although, initially, it seemed to tie his continuity, the economic demands of his agents, and the fact that in the end, the calculator weighed more than talent ended with his departure to Inter who gladly paid the penalty for breaking his contract. Then he would stop at Real Madrid, as before Luis Figo, one of the great traitors of Barcelona, ​​punished with a pig’s head.

Pep Guardiola’s story is doubly disastrous for the memory of the Catalans. As a player, he left the entity in an anodyne way, after malicious rumors about his health and personal life spread. His departure to Brescia came in 2001, after the elimination in the Copa del Rey semifinals against Celta was consummated. The public applauded him and he came out on the shoulders of his teammates, but later, he jumped back onto the pitch to say goodbye to an empty Camp Nou. As a coach, after preferring to renew from year to year because he knew that Barça creates idols at the same speed that it destroys them, he announced his departure after the elimination against Chelsea in the semifinals of the Champions League in 2012. A farewell marred by the hasty announcement that the one who had been his second, Tito Vilanova, would take over. Something that, in the end,

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