An 8-2 thumping by Bayern Munich might just have been the final nail in the coffin of Messi’s time in Barcelona. After the treble in 2015, not a single Champions League trophy has returned to Camp Nou, whereas their fierce rivals Real Madrid have won a treble of Champions Leagues. The poor transfer activity in the market with the replacements of Xavi, Iniesta, Neymar, etc. has not shone. One hundred forty (140) million USD and 160 million USD were spent on Dembele and Coutinho, respectively, who, in return, have flopped massively. They were brought in to win the prestigious competition. Still, persistent injury problems to Dembele has kept him on the sidelines, and Coutinho is not even played in his preferred position. In contrast, Arthur, a ray of hope which didn’t come cheap and cost a hefty 54 million USD, was sold for an aging Miralem Pjanic, who commanded the club 60 million euros will be 30 at the time he joins Barcelona.
Messi has a contract till 2021 with Barcelona having a 700 million euros release clause that only a few clubs are capable of paying, two of them being certain PSG and Manchester City. Juventus have the finances available thanks to their shirt sponsors ADIDAS who would not hesitate to inject the cash to bring their most prolific client to Turin to combine him with his longtime rival in Cristiano Ronaldo. Manchester United is another team that can afford him, but Ed Woodward might disagree as they have set their sights on Jadon Sancho.
Josep Bartomeu; the club president is not the only person that has been held responsible for the failed system at Barcelona; in fact, the sporting director Eric Abidal is the person who recommended the big-money signing of Antoine Griezman instead of integrating the famous La Masia products into the first team such as Puig, Konrad, and many others with Sergi Roberto being the last academy player to feature for Barcelona constantly. The latest altercation between the board and Messi was in February. Neymar was the first choice of Messi and had requested the board to resign him only a year later after his world record 222 million USD move to PSG.
On 25th Aug 2020, Lionel Messi handed in a transfer request by sending a fax to the Barcelona Board and asked to terminate his contract and let him leave for free mutually. At first, it was called a hoax, but the very next day, the fax was so-called ‘leaked’ to the media, and Barcelona released a statement confirming Messi’s transfer request. The bombshell dropped by arguably the greatest player of all time on his boyhood team might be the beginning of the end of this love story, after all, as he edges near and near to the exit. Man city seems to be the most probable destination with the most significant pull factor of Pep Guardiola mostly because he and the latter had the most successful years of trophy-laden years of their lives with the treble being the crown jewel of their successful time together.
Barcelona captain Lionel Messi is refusing to sign a contract and insists that he be allowed to leave the Catalan club for a free meanwhile, the club president has denied neither leaving him for free nor negotiating with any club for a fee and has made it clear that any club trying to sign the player must pay the whole release clause.
This whole saga reached an end when Jorge Messi (Father and Lawyer of Messi) released a couple of statements on Friday clearing their stance on all the affiliated parties, i.e., Barcelona alongside Laliga and all but confirmed that he would be staying with his club for the last year of his contract and inflicted that he did not want to get in any legal proceedings with his beloved club. In another exclusive interview, Messi heavily criticized the club President and stated that Mr.Bartomeu did not keep his promise of letting him leave.
From January 2021, any club will be free to sign a pre-contract with Lionel Messi according to FIFA transfer rules, and Manchester City are the front runners. This move will have a more significant impact on almost all the parties involved, including Manchester City, which will look to further cement their place in Europe’s elite. For Pep Guardiola, it will be another chance to increase the no of trophies in his cabinet, and this might be the first time in his managerial career if he stays more than five years with a single club before taking a sabbatical. For Barcelona as a whole club, it will be a colossal loss who will be without the rightfully called GOAT for the first time in 19 years.
As far as football fans and Premier League are concerned, it will a whole new experience who will have exclusively witnessed the two footballing greats of the beautiful game.