Why Flawed Genius Raul Bobadilla Is a Bundesliga Sideshow You Can't Miss

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentAugust 18, 2013

Photo via via Borussia.de
Photo via via Borussia.de

New Augsburg signing Raúl Bobadilla is bringing his controversial act back to the Bundesliga having crashed and burned his opportunity with 16-time Swiss league champion Basel. 

"We look at the signing of Raúl Bobadilla as a very important one for our attack," Basel said in a club statement on Jan. 4, 2013, via UEFA.com

Five months later, Basel president Bernhard Heusler foreshadowed the sale of Bobadilla, who was in legal strife after being caught by police for speeding 61 km above the limit. 

"[The club] can't tolerate such behavior," Heusler said, according to the Associated Press (via Sports Illustrated). 

Wait, isn't that exactly what Bobadilla's former employer Borussia Mönchengladbach said in 2010? Yep.

"We cannot tolerate such behaviour," said Mönchengladbach director of sport Max Eberl in response to Bobadilla's assault of Sérgio Pinto, from PA Sport (via SBS The World Game). "Raúl has damaged the team [...] therefore the disciplinary and financial measures reflect this."

Bobadilla was demoted to the reserves, fined 50,000 and later loaned out to Greek club Aris—in reality, he was temporarily exiled from the team. 

"It would have been difficult for Raúl to get into the side in the second half of the season," Eberl said when asked to explain why the club sold Bobadilla to BSC Young Boysvia Borussia.de.

It was wasted potential on both sides with Mönchengladbach spending €4.2 million on the player and Bobadilla scoring twice and creating a goal in a 4-0 win over Köln a few matches prior to Pepe-ing Pinto.

With 21 goals and nine assists in 35 games, Bobadilla played the best football of his life for YB.

A hat trick against Udinese and two assists vs. Liverpool helped erase doubts of him being a flat-track bully—for Mönchengladbach, he never scored against Bayern Munich. 

Yet, what did Bobadilla gain infamy for as an YB player?

Verbally abusing an official in front of a television crew and receiving a red card seven minutes after coming on as a sub for scraping Guillaume Katz's head with a hammer-fist. 

Bobadilla has been given chances by Mönchengladbach, YB, Basel and now Augsburg—it's only a matter of time before his high-risk behaviour catches up to him. 

He only needs to look at ex-Basel player Nenad Savic being convicted of selling cocaine or former Bayern defender Breno—once regarded as the future of Brazil's back line—being jailed for arson as reasons to drop the gangster mentality. 

El Hadji Diouf once said, via LFCHistory.net, "Everyone knew me to be a thug and they were all scared of me."

Listed as a 2002 FIFA World Cup all-star and (blasphemously) included in Pelé's FIFA 100, people forget that Diouf was a world-class talent; instead, they'll remember him as one of football's most hated players.

"The stigma of what you (Diouf) did (spit) will follow you round for the rest of your career," said Liverpool legend Tommy Smith, via The Daily Mail. "You'll never live it down."

Ask Johnny Leoni, Matteo Gritti, Miro Varvodic, Roman Burki and Zeljko Brkic about Bobadilla, they'll speak about his immaculate free-kicks. 

Talk to his former managers and they'll tell you Bobadilla is an angry, complex, moody and at times, uncoachable footballer.

It's the flawed-genius syndrome.  

The latest barrier Bobadilla needs to overcome is a knee injury, and instead of going to the nightclub as means of "recuperation," like Andriy Voronin, Bobadilla needs to exercise discipline. 

At Augsburg, Bobadilla must watch, learn and adapt to the professionalism shown week in, week out by German journeyman Sascha Mölders. If Bobadilla had Mölders' work ethic, the Argentine striker would be one of Kicker magazine's highest-rated players.

Named by UEFA as a rising Europa League star, there's one thing stopping Bobadilla from fulfilling his potential: himself. 


Statistics courtesy of WhoScored.comSquawka.com and Transfermarkt.co.uk.