If Tranquillo Barnetta leaves the Philadelphia Union in the offseason to go back to Switzerland, you can’t be mad.
You can wish he stayed. You can be sad to see him go. But you can’t be mad.
Ever since joining the Union in the middle of last season, Tranquillo has been one of the most solid professionals on the team. He’s the type of guy that fans here profess to love - a guy who shows up to work every day. He doesn’t complain, he just does his job and does it well. Of all of the players that have been in a uniform since he joined the club, most of them have taken a game off. You can’t blame a guy on a team that’s not making the playoffs by a long shot (as was the case last season) for taking a shift off, for mailing one in. You couldn’t blame a guy for wanting out after the team fired the executive that brought him in or for wanting to give up when the team was spiraling out of control.
All of the reasons Barnetta could have used to want out, and he chose none of them.
The only thing that’s calling him back is his home. It’s not the Union, the city of Philadelphia, the fans, or anything else about us and here. It’s about him and there. We shouldn’t fault a guy for that. For most of us, Philadelphia is our home - for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, and for some of us, until death do us part. But for some, home isn’t here. It could be a beach in Florida, a prairie in the Midwest, or a small town in northeastern Switzerland. It’s not a condemnation any more than saying that your home isn’t St. Gallen but a city in the Delaware Valley isn’t a condemnation.
I hope he stays, but if Tranquillo leaves he has my support. He’s been nothing but great for the city and the team. He’s stuck by this team during its darkest hours and leaving it better than it ever has been. He has my respect.