Alex Song is best remembered at Barca for a VERY embarrassing gaffe

Alex Song is better remembered at Barcelona for a VERY embarrassing trophy gaffe than anything he did on the pitch… and no wonder after admitting he joined ‘to become a millionaire’ after being told he would hardly play!

  • Alex Song says he ‘didn’t give a f***’ about playing many games for Barcelona
  • The midfielder admitted he moved to the Nou Camp ‘to become a millionaire’ 
  • Song was used in midfield and defence but rarely impressed between 2012-14
  • He mistakenly thought Carles Puyol was trying to hand him the LaLiga trophy
  • Song was sent out on loan to West Ham and eventually left Barcelona in 2016 
  • He should have used his big move as a springboard but is now without a club

It’s easy to laugh along with former Arsenal midfielder Alex Song when he recounts how rich playing two seasons at Barcelona made him.

This week he was quoted by Cameroonian website Lion Indomptable, saying: ‘I met Barca’s sporting director, and he told me I would not get to play many games. But I didn’t give a f***. I knew that now I would become a millionaire.’

But behind the tale of how he was blown away by Barca’s generosity and the limited demands on what he had to do to earn the money, there is the tale of a player who should have made his move to the Nou Camp the next big step in his career instead of the moment he began to decline.

Alex Song poses with his new Barcelona shirt after signing for the club in the summer of 2012

Song recently admitted that he left Arsenal and joined Barcelona ‘to become a millionaire’  

The defensive midfielder was told he wouldn’t play much before joining Barca for £15million 

Transfer fee: £15million

Appearances: 65

Goals: 1

Honours: LaLiga title (2012-13), Spanish Super Cup (2013) 

He was only 24 when he signed in a bargain £15million deal. He had just enjoyed his best ever season for Arsenal in midfield with Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsay. Now he was at one of the biggest clubs in the world. When they told him he might not play much it should have been a challenge to keep developing and become one of the best midfielders in Europe.

Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta talked up his versatility in his press conference and eyebrows were raised. He was being brought in to cover the position of Sergio Busquets but his new club seemed to be suggesting he could fill in elsewhere, particularly in the centre of defence.

Song celebrates after scoring a Premier League goal for Arsenal against Bolton back in 2010

The midfielder greets Barcelona supporters by signing autographs ahead of his unveiling

He would not have been the first to successfully convert from midfield to centre-back. Javier Mascherano had managed the move and earlier so had Rafael Marquez. Perhaps the one man who never believed it possible was Song himself.

Maybe if Pep Guardiola had still been at the club he would have been made to believe. It was Guardiola’s successor, Tito Vilanova, who tried to play him there and it was largely without success.

When Argentine coach Tata Martino took over, he liked Song’s energy and physical presence and tried to play him alongside Busquets in midfield. That seemed to open up another possibility. 

Barcelona needed someone who could cover ground as intelligently as Seydou Keita had done under Guardiola. He was never going to play too many games ahead of Andres Iniesta and Xavi, but proving his versatility would have made him an important player at Barcelona and enhanced chances of another big move.

Song, pictured in action against Celtic in 2012, made 65 appearances for Barca over four years

There were moments when he looked very much at home. He certainly never looked out of place pinging quick, crisp passes in the famous Barcelona ‘rondos’ in their training sessions.

And he scored with an assured side-foot finish from just inside the penalty area against Zaragoza just three months into his first season. He had taken up an intelligent position and Lionel Messi had picked him out with a pull-back after dribbling to the byline.

Messi was the first to congratulate him – he was on his way. He started 17 games in that first season. 

Yet the only thing people really remember from it is when he thought Carles Puyol was handing him the league trophy on the final day of the season. He had to take an embarrassing step back when he realised it was Eric Abidal – recently returned from a liver transplant – who Puyol wanted to lift the cup aloft to a full Nou Camp.

The midfielder mistakenly tried to take the LaLiga trophy from Carles Puyol back in 2013 – Barca’s captain had actually wanted Eric Abidal (right centre) to raise the trophy with him

The following season Martino gave him 12 starts and when the Argentine stood down and Luis Enrique turned up, it was the end of the road just two years into Song’s adventure.

There were friendly games in the 2014-15 pre-season when everyone got a least a minute, except Song. The message was clear. 

He was even involved in an accidental training ground clash with new arrival Marc-Andre ter Stegen which left the German keeper with a bruised shoulder. It at least reminded everyone he was there.

He eventually moved to West Ham on loan before signing for Rubin Kazan, where unpaid wages and a spell living in the training ground because a house promised to him never got built, are the lasting memories.

He then moved to Sion where he became one of nine players sacked for refusing to take a pay cut due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

He is still only 32, the age Luka Modric was when he won the Ballon d’Or. It would be a stretch to say his career could have hit the same individual heights.

But it did seem that he was travelling in the right direction when he went from Arsenal to Barcelona. At least the dead-end roads were paved with gold.

Song, pictured earlier this week, now finds himself without a club after being sacked by Sion

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