If one was to look up the definition of lamentation in the dictionary, one would find the following
“the passionate expression of grief or sorrow; weeping”
I like to think that Alex Song does not lament very much at the moment.
Mainly because he is a professional footballer. No matter how hard he and his fellow professionals try to convince the rest of us mere mortals that it is bloody hard work and full of stress and anxiety, we typically default to the fact that they earn a ridiculous amount of cash – more than most of us would earn during a lifetime of work.
Secondly, Alex Song currently plays for FC Barcelona and what could possibly give you reason to lament when you are surrounded by some of the world’s best players and you have recently won a league championship – something that eluded him at his former club, Arsenal during his seven-year stint at the club.
In theory then, all is well in Alex Song’s world. Or is it?
Alex Song used to be one of the main men at Arsenal. The long-running Cesc Fabregas saga finally came to an end in the summer of 2011, and this gave Song an opportunity to show us what he was capable of. During the 2011/12 football season Song started 44 games, scored 1 goal and provided 13 assists (including this fantastic one against Borussia Dortmund) and made no appearances off the bench. The season prior to that Song started 43 games, scored 5 goals and provided 3 assists and appeared as a substitute 3 times.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, a familiar problem presented itself in the summer of 2012. For all of his hard work, tireless running and his improved creative ability Song was not winning any silverware. Like the extensive list of former Gunners (Van Persie, Fabregas, Nasri, Clichy, Toure, Adebayor, Cole, Henry etc), Song could not resist the overtures when Barcelona came calling. To be fair, how many players would be able to turn down an opportunity to play with the Catalan giants?
However, playing for Barcelona (or any of the major football clubs in the world) is a challenging exercise for certain players whose names are not Messi, Hernandez, Iniesta, Neymar, Valdes or Busquets. In the 2012/13 season, Alex Song made a total of 25 appearances contributing 1 goal and zero assists, with 10 of his appearance coming off the bench.
I assume that Song knew when he signed the five-year deal that he would be used as a squad player, and would not be guaranteed a starting berth. (He is not the only one faced with this particular issue as Cesc Fabregas can attest). At Barcelona, if you are not a defender, it would appear that (fitness permitting) there is arguably one starting position that is up for grabs and that is contested by Fabregas, Pedro and Alexi Sanchez. If you are Alex Song, your direct competition is Sergio Busquets and then you can also slot in as an emergency central defender if Pique, Puyol and Mascherano are all injured.
This is why I personally lament on Alex Song’s behalf. From being a starting player with abundant talent that was on offer week in week out, he has now become a squad player brought on to start games against the lesser lights of La Liga such as Levante and Almeria, when Busquets and other starting players need a rest before an all-important Champions League game. In Saturday’s el clasico game, he was brought on as a pair of fresh legs to shore up the midfield and provide defensive cover.
Alex Song – I lament on your behalf.