Giovanni van Bronckhorst - known as Gio in his La Liga years - has left Barcelona on a free transfer using the get-out clause on his contract and is headed to his former Dutch club Feyenoord. I don't know about anybody else, but I'm a bit shocked. If one of the left-backs were to leave, I always thought it would be Sylvinho. After all, Gio's the one Rijkaard really wanted to sign, and the one he's always preferred in the big games. I damn well hope this means we are bringing in another left-back, because otherwise that position looks dangerously low on cover. But that's speculation best left to another post.
Update: the Barca official website has a nice look at Gio's career at Barca. And you know, it's nice to see a footballer keep his word: he said he'd only leave Barca for Feyenoord, and that's what he's done. I'm glad the parting seems amiable.
Gio came to Barca from Arsenal in a time when the club was in a state of transition and leaves us now amidst another period of major change. His time at the club has been marked by huge success, and I for one am thankful to him for his part in the glories and triumphs of the last 4 seasons, during which he appeared 141 times for the club, scoring 5 goals. My two most enduring memories of his time here remain his goal against Real Madrid in the Camp Nou in 04-05 and his tearful reaction to winning the Champions League in 05-06.
(three fondly remembered former blaugranas)
So it's a warm farewell from me to our last Dutch squad member. Good luck to him on his next big adventure.