SportsSergi Roberto on the target

Sergi Roberto on the target

Sergi Roberto against Davies, in Barcelona’s game against Bayern Munich.LLUIS GENE / AFP

Neymar was the best of the game, Messi took the glory for celebrating the decisive goal with the fans and the compliments were taken by Sergi Roberto (Reus, Tarragona; 29 years old), capable of flying without wings in a shot that was worth to him 6-1, the goal that produced the legendary comeback against PSG in the knockout stages of the 2017 Champions League. “It will remain in history,” they reflected from the dressing room. But history sometimes fights with memory and especially with the present. This is indicated by the Camp Nou, which passed the account to Sergi Roberto a few days ago after the last defeat against Bayern (0-3). “Nobody likes to be whistled,” they point out from the footballer’s environment, “but he wants to play and change them.” The appointment is this Monday (9:00 p.m., Movistar) against Granada, a duel in which he could return to the right side or to the axis due to the loss of Pedri.

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The whistle of Sergi Roberto is explained by the precarious economic and institutional situation of Barça, which penalizes the players. The footballer, one of the captains, has not yet signed his salary cut, which has led the fans to take a certain anger at him, also sensitive to Messi’s departure to PSG due to the lack of resources. It mattered little that President Laporta admitted in Luuk de Jong’s presentation that the operation was closed. “It’s done,” confirms the player’s environment. From the club they add: “Let’s hope it closes this next week.”

Sergi Roberto is not the first nor will he be the last to receive criticism from the Camp Nou, capable of whistling in his time at references such as Luis Suárez, Cruyff and Rivaldo, as well as Koeman and Zubizarreta during their first matches. Even Neymar and Ibrahimovic. Others, however, had a harder time assimilating the anger of the fans. The case of Chigrinski, Giovani Dos Santos, Cesc, Mathieu and, not long ago, André Gomes, who recognized his inability to cope with the situation. The difference with all of them is that Sergi Roberto does not play in his natural position. “It is unfair. There is nothing to object to their behavior or attitude. It does not generate problems. He is not a debatable player ”, they say from the sports area. He does not discuss Barça either, as two years ago he received a strong offer from England and, as always, he opted to stay.

Convinced by Luis Enrique and by his willingness to make a place in the eleven, Sergi Roberto agreed to play right back when Alves left. “He took the position because he is very good, because he understands all the concepts, because he knows the Barça game by heart and because his physical conditions are spectacular,” they say in the Camp Nou offices. But sometimes it makes water, like against Bayern, surpassed by the skill and speed of Davies. “It may be that these players with an explosive start lacks a point of speed, although it is always corrected with position,” these sources add.

Out of position

Luis Enrique did not find another for the position and Valverde warned that he would put him in the middle because for the right rearguard he had Semedo and Wague, but he was corrected with the matches. Setién did use him in the middle until he had no other choice and Koeman has done more of the same, as he pointed out that he wanted him in the medullary and called him a midfielder rather than a defense, but the sale of Emerson to Tottenham and the irregularity of Dest they lead him back to the corner. “I don’t like my players whistling. We know that Sergi is not a winger and playing one on one with Davies is impossible ”, Koeman apologized. “The whistles to Sergi Roberto hurt me. He is a spectacular person and loves the club like nobody else. And I would like to remind people that they are not a full-back, they are a lifelong midfielder, ”added Piqué. This was evidenced by Lluç [merluza; apodo que le pusieron en las categorías inferiores del club] in the first two crashes of the course, screwed in the medullary and excellent in the arrival to the area by surprise, to the point that he scored two goals (Real Sociedad and Getafe), his record in a season equaled with the 2011-12 and 2014 courses -fifteen; also an assist against Athletic. It seemed like it would be his year at last as a medium. But not even with those.

“It is the story of his life …”, they admit from the sports area; “The poor adapt for their versatility, but it must be valued in the middle.” Which has not happened. Sergi Roberto, who celebrated his first goal of the year with a kiss to the shield, may be taken from the eleven square or booed. But no one will take away his desire to stay at the club and claim that his football is for Barcelona. Even if it is from the side.

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