I was saddened to read this morning that Barça’s former captain Gheorghe ‘Gica’ Popescu has been condemned to three years of prison by a court in Rumania for financial irregularities in the sale of players to foreign countries. Popescu played 96 games for Barça between 1995 and 1997, being made captain by Bobby Robson and lifting the Copa del Rey and European Cup winners Cup in his second season.
The irregularities involved tax evasion, extortion and money laundering, and it must be said what a shame it is that a man who has had such a successful career with all the financial benefits that involves should need to stoop to such levels. There is the chance for one final appeal against the court’s decision so we should hope that he can somehow prove his innocence still. However, if the verdict is confirmed it will be a terrible fall for Popescu. There are too many sharks in football out to grab all they can and as a result the fans are asked to pay increasingly-inflated prices for tickets and merchandise. Let’s hope he learns his lesson from this stupid and greedy episode.