Barcelona, Blog, Blog - The Toe Poke, Blog Post, Clubs, Real Madrid, Spanish Primera División

Barcelona employee Francesc Satorra achieved global fame after witnessing the ugly incident.

The name of Barcelona club suit Francesc Satorra may not be familiar to you, but you’ll almost certainly recognise him.

Satorra, better known as “The Observer,” has retired after 41 years at Barcelona, finally freeing him up to talk about the incident which helped give him fame and cult status: Jose Mourinho’s eye poke on Tito Vilanova.

Satorra spent four decades at Camp Nou, where he was in charge of matchday logistics. He would oversee that the players could enter and leave the stadium without any problems, keep the mixed zone in order and watch matches from a privileged position by the tunnel.

Most of his work was carried out in silence but that all changed on one August evening in 2011 when Barca hosted Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup.

Lionel Messi‘s 88th-minute winner earned Barca the trophy and sparked confrontational scenes. As the players and coaching staff clashed on the sidelines, then-Madrid coach Mourinho made his way over to Vilanova, Pep Guardiola’s assistant at the time, and poked him in the eye.

“The Tito and Mourinho incident was one of the worst brawls I’ve seen at Camp Nou,” Satorra told RAC1 on Monday. “It was at the end of the game. I came out and I found Mourinho going to greet Tito — but then he poked him in the eye.”

Satorra was not involved in the incident but he was perfectly placed in the background. His emotionless face was captured between Mourinho and Vilanova and went viral on social media, earning him the nickname “The Observer.”

“I couldn’t believe it for a few seconds, then Tito pushed his arm away,” he added. “That image appeared all over the world. They told me it was a trending topic; I didn’t know what it meant at the time.

“From that point on they called me ‘The Observer,’ now that’s something that forms part of my image. Since that day, people have wanted to take photographs with me. They made shirts with my picture on. A lot of players have wanted to take photos with me, too.”

Vilanova went on to succeed Pep Guardiola as Barca manager, and led them to the 2012-13 league title despite spending part of that campaign undergoing cancer treatment. He stepped down from the role at the end of that season, and died the following year.

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