What’s next for Lionel Messi?
On 25th August 2020, FC Barcelona confirmed that Lionel Messi has sent in a burofax saying he wishes to exercise a clause in his contract which allows the Argentine international to leave the Catalan club with immediate effect for FREE.
Lionel Messi has won 33 titles with FC Barcelona till now, most important of them being ten La Liga titles and four UEFA Champions Leagues titles. His individual accolades in his time at the club include the prestigious Ballon d’Or won a record 6 times, the European golden boot also 6 times, FIFA Men’s player of the year twice, and the Pichichi i.e the top scorer of La Liga a record 7 times.
Rumours regarding Messi’s unhappiness with the club and the management and especially the club president Josep Maria Bartomeu have been swirling around for a couple of seasons. Getting knocked out by Juventus, Roma, Liverpool in the Champions league and the vicious 8-2 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich could well have been the final nail in the coffin for the player.
To this anticipated transfer request, the club argued that the clause had expired in June 2020 and if Messi wished to leave, the 700 million Euros release clause had to be paid or the player could finish his contract and leave for free at the end of next season. But Messi’s agent, his father, Jorge Messi argued back saying the clause said that the player could leave at the end of the season which is usually the month of june but the season end was postponed this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The last time Messi was this close to leaving the club it was during the 2005-06 season when Inter Milan came with a bid of 150 million euros to pay Messi’s release clause at that time but the player decided to stay.
In a recent interview with Goal, Messi clarified the current situation and various rumours saying,
“This decision did not come because of the Champions League result against Bayern, no – I had been thinking about the decision for a long time. I told the president and, well, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I wanted to go or if I wanted to stay. I thought and was sure that I was free to leave, the president always said that at the end of the season I could decide if I stayed or not and in the end he did not keep his word.”
“Now they cling to the fact that I did not say it before June 10, when it turns out that on June 10 we were competing for La Liga in the middle of this awful coronavirus and this disease altered all the season.
“And this is the reason why I am going to continue in the club. Now I am going to continue in the club because the president told me that the only way to leave was to pay the €700 million clause, and that this is impossible.
“Barca gave me everything and I gave it everything. I know that it never crossed my mind to take Barca to court.” – As per Goal.
Messi has now openly criticized the club’s management after the club literally forced out Luis Suarez in a transfer to rivals Atletico Madrid. Lionel Messi aside, even Suarez had such a terrific career at the club and undoubtedly is one of the most important players in the club’s history.
Messi has openly stated that he is unhappy at the club but will run out his contract there, rather than take them to court out of his respect and love for them which has been his home for the last 20 years. Even the La Liga authorities had their say in this where they don’t have any right and sided with the club as it would critically damage the viewership the league has due to the fact that Messi plays there.
From a personal point of view, Messi cannot be blamed for wanting to leave Barcelona. His best friend and strike partner was forced out of the club, the transfer fees received for Neymar from PSG were spent poorly. Rather than improving and attracting young talent the management along with the Sporting director Eric Abidal have made disappointing transfer moves financially crippling the club.
The club luckily haven’t turned out to be on the bitter side of this dispute per se but for a football club whose tagline reads, ‘Més que un club’ meaning ‘More than a club’ – who always had the vision for future prospects, whose legends have been recipients of the utmost respect and love here it’s sad to see Lionel Messi being treated the way he is.
For Messi fans, it’s a bit of a dilemma. They want Messi to stay at Barcelona but at the same time hope that he’ll be able to leave the clutches of poor management and truly compete for the top silverware in Europe.
Will the Argentine star leave the famous city of Barcelona next summer and sign for the rumored favourites to sign him, Manchester City, you never know!
SY B.SC Economics