Are Barca Spooked By Spying Scandal?
27 February 2013
Barcelona’s current slump in form is mainly being attributed to a lack of leadership.
The club are clearly missing their understated manager Tito Vilanova, who is undergoing cancer treatment in America.
He has provided a steady hand in the wake of Pep Guardiola’s painful departure, and while likeable, his stand-in Jordi Roura is hardly proving to be a tactical savant.
But another more sinister cause for Barca’s sudden lack of focus could be the spying scandal the club is embroiled in.
Well-known Barcelona spy firm, Metodo 3, has gone bust in Spain’s economic collapse, and its disgruntled former employees are leaking stories about the secret work it once carried out.
For years, speculation suggested Barca kept clandestine tabs on its players, with Samuel Eto'o, Ronaldinho and Deco all thought to have been spied on by the club in the past.
And now it seems defender Gerard Pique has been tailed by a private investigator, paid by Barca to take note of the details of his private life with pop star Shakira.
According to a report in the Guardian, Pique was followed by a spook who told Barca details like how many drinks he was consuming, and how late he stayed out partying on Barcelona’s famous nightclub circuit.
It is believed that Barca were worried about the impact Pique’s celebrity paramour was having on his form, and when he clocked that he was being followed, the club managed to convince him it was only the paparazzi.
Barcelona have refused to comment on the articles emerging daily in the Spanish media that they were among Metodo 3’s list of clients, along with politicians and captains of industry.
"The club does not wish to comment on this because it has no documentary evidence that this ever happened and, as a result, we deny it," a Barca spokesperson said opaquely on Tuesday.
One cannot help but wonder if all is not as blissful as it seems at the Camp Nou, despite the frequently scintillating football its superstars can play.
Ever since goalkeeper Victor Valdes announced he would be leaving Barca when his contract expires, people have been wondering why he could quit such a seemingly comfortable position. At the same time, Barca have begun to stutter.
Without tending towards conspiracy theory, perhaps we now have a few more clues as to why.