David Villa signed with Barcelona today. It's not a surprise as there have been rumors of him leaving Valencia for a few months. But it is somewhat disappointing as it just confirms that the rich in Spain are getting richer.
Last season, Real Madrid finished with 96 points, the second most ever for a team in one season in La Liga. Who holds the current record? Barcelona. When did they set that record? This last season. Barcelona finished with an unprecedented 99 points and Real was barely behind them with 96. They absolutely dominated the league. Valencia finished in third with 71 points. They were 25 points behind second place Real Madrid. 25 points! Just not even close. Sevilla finished in fourth with 63 points. Over 30 behind Real and Barcelona. So now Valencia, the third place team which could hardly compete with the first and second place teams, is losing their premier striker and leading goal scorer to Barcelona-the team that absolutely dominated La Liga. It's not helping the competition in the league when the two already rich teams, just get richer.
It's particularly unfortunate because more than anything the move is a commentary of the status of teams in La Liga. Mallorca, who finished in 5th in the league, confirmed today that they will be filing for bankruptcy. It has long been rumored that Valencia is also having serious financial difficulties and on the verge of bankruptcy. Finishing third in La Liga and qualifying for the Champions League helps, but they still can't afford to keep their marquee players - like Villa. They need to sell their players to get themselves out of the red. Although they finish well, instead of being able to capitalize on their success and build on it, they still have to sell off their players in order to stay afloat. So they, along with most other teams, aren't about to change the landscape of La Liga anytime soon. We are likely destined to another two horse race before the season even starts.
Finances aside, you can't really blame Villa for the move. As a Real fan it would have been great to see him go to Madrid, not that we need yet another galactico to intimidate Kaka in the locker room. But as a fan of La Liga it would have been nice to see him stay at Valencia to help build up competition in the league. But Villa is somewhat like Fernando Torres and the rumors that he might leave Liverpool. In soccer, a player's prime only lasts a few years. And while it would be nice to see a player show loyalty and stick with a team and help build that team or dig that team out of their woes (Liverpool), it's hard to fault the player for wanting to make sure his prime years are spent with a team that can contend for a title. It's a sad reality, but I think you'd be hard pressed to find a player that wouldn't do the same thing if they were in Villa's boots.
Anyways, I've posted this video before, but it's worth posting again especially when you consider that Villa will now be playing up top with Messi. Good night. It's almost unfair. Great news if you are a Barca fan. Bad news for everyone else in Spain as the rich get richer. Not that you can blame Villa though. Most everyone would do the same.