Say it quietly – very quietly if you are friends with a Barcelona fan – but we think Lionel Messi might be leaving the Catalan giants. Having spent his entire professional career in the club and the city, it would be strange to see Messi in anything other than the red-blue of Barcelona and the white-blue of Argentina. If you have gotten used to him in light blue, though, his next move might make you feel a bit better: Manchester City.
That’s right, a club that wasn’t even in the UEFA Champions League when Messi made his debut could try to end his UCL hoodoo by moving to a club that has never won the title. And while there will those who say it is purely down the Pep Guardiola presence or the massive wages on offer, others see the sporting merit in such a move. Especially when reports suggest that Messi would be signing a 10-year deal with the City Football Group.
This would see him play his remaining peak years in Manchester, helping them to European glory in the process. Then a move to South America, North America, Asia or even somewhere else in Europe could be on the cards, playing for one of the many clubs who fall under the City Football Group heading. Then, he would move into a role of ‘Global Ambassador’ that would see Messi become a key face of the City group.
Still, traditionalists will be sad to see the likely move of Messi to England. In an era where the English game has most or all of the major global stars, some fans will have taken pride in seeing Messi be the one talent that no club in Britain would have the potential to actually attract.
Will Messi leave Barcelona for sure?
As it stands? All reports and suggestions point to a free transfer exit in July 2021. He can technically sign a pre-contract with anyone in January. This would mean that while Barcelona look to resolve their presidential elections that Messi could come up as a potential transfer option. Before the club could even solve its internal dispute and give Messi a realistic vision of the future, he could be leaving anyway.
This makes it almost impossible to see him staying in Barcelona. With the club mired in debt and having to cut wages, and with an uneven squad that is ageing rapidly, there is little financial clout available for a rebuild. In his mid-30s, too, Messi does not have another two to three years to wait around for a UEFA Champions League triumph.
Slowing down slightly and doing far less physical toil than before, too, Messi might not have the means anymore to drag a team over the edge. Barcelona likely lack the time and the funds to make the signings desperately needed to turn things around.
In the short timeframe that exists between Messi being able to leave and having the option to do so, it is almost impossible to see FCB make the needed changes to convince their adopted Catalan to stick around.