When FC Barcelona comes calling, players usually find it hard to resist. One look at the trophy cabinet will go a long way to convincing most to join the ranks of the Blaugrana.
For one player, the allure of Barca failed to trump loyalty to his old team.
Following Espanyol’s relegation to the second tier of Spanish football, captain Sergi Darder knew that he needed to move on, but despite the call, it wasn’t going to be to Barcelona.
Darder made over 200 appearances for Espanyol and the combative midfielder ended up making a €8 million move to Mallorca this summer, but in a different dimension, he’d be roaming the midfield of Barca.
Speaking to Catalunya Radio via SPORT, the 29-year-old midfielder had this to say about a possible move to Barcelona:
"“Even being from Espanyol, being called by a Champions League team makes you doubt. The first day I was nervous, but then I thought it was impossible. I would like it to be another team, but not Barça. Out of respect for Espanyol, I didn’t go any further. My intention was to leave but it was to leave well. I put my values and my esteem for Espanyol before money or winning the League.”"
Sergi Derder turned Barcelona down based on loyalty and values
Although he turned down Barca, it’s hard not to respect a statement like that. Having captained Espanyol in plenty of ‘El derbi Barceloní’, it’s understandable that he would not try to force a move to the cross-town rivals, although electing to sign with Mallorca over Barca will have cost him both money and an opportunity to compete for major trophies.
They do say that everything happens for a reason, and with Derder deciding to join Mallorca, that opened up the opportunity for Oriol Romeu to return to Barca, and so far he’s been doing a fine job.
Mallorca currently sit 15th in the table having won just one of their opening 5 games.