In January, Atlanta United reportedly paid $15 million to acquire 19-year-old Argentine midfielder Ezequiel Barco. On Saturday, Barco did not play in the team's 3-1 win over D.C. United.
This might seem like a curious decision considering Barco has four goals in his first 16 games for Atlanta. Things got even more intriguing when it was revealed Barco would be benched a second game.
As it turns out, the alleged reason for the discipline is an all-timer. Barco reportedly "made romantic overtures" toward a teammate's girlfriend.
Dirty South Soccer reported this development:
Two sources with knowledge of the situation have told Dirty South Soccer that Barco was reprimanded for making romantic overtures toward a teammate’s girlfriend. When reached via phone call, an Atlanta United spokesperson declined to comment beyond what Martino had said following the D.C. United match.
Neither the club nor Martino have officially stated for how long Barco will be benched, only that it will last at least through this weekend’s away match against the Montreal Impact.
We've seen love triangles ruin teams before. If this report is accurate, kudos to Atlanta United for making sure things didn't go too far.
Also, Barco is lucky he didn't get pummeled by his teammate. Let this be a lesson to the young import.
Whatever you do, don't try to steal your teammate's significant other.