When rumors arose over the summer regarding Lionel Messi potentially leaving his beloved Champions League side F.C. Barcelona, the world was shocked. Barca did whatever they could to keep their unsettled star and successfully kept the Argentinian in Spain. However, the beginning of January marked the opening of the transfer window. Now, Lionel Messi can negotiate with other clubs, and he’ll be at the top of every team’s wishlist. Here, we go into an in-depth look at why he wishes to leave, how he can, and where he could be playing by next season.
Why leave Barcelona?
Lionel Messi has flourished in Spain and has become one of the greatest to ever play. He’s been at the club since 2004 and has won 33 trophies. Loved by the fans and has been given all the riches in the world in Barcelona. It seems unfathomable as to why the Argentinian would fight so hard to leave through all his success. In recent years, the Blaugranas have slowly gotten rid of star players. Messi was very close to including Neymar Jr., Dani Alves, and his closest friend Luis Suarez. Messi was reportedly enraged when his club terminated Suarez’s contract and allowed him to sign for rivals Atletico Madrid. Now, Messi plays with a severely weakened side in Barcelona and carries a heavy load for his team.
Despite these personal issues for the unsettled winger, the more significant issue for Messi is his struggle to win trophies in recent years. Since 2015, Messi hasn’t seen silverware from European competitions. In the Champions League, his side continues to slip up in decisive games that they are expected to win. Most recently, Barca was humiliated in a shocking 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich.
This season doesn’t show too many bright spots for the Spanish giants either. Currently third in Spanish standings, they’re far from the title this season and will likely settle for merely a spot in the Champions League next season. In Europe, Barca faces the daunting task of facing PSG in the round of sixteen after an ugly 3-0 defeat to Juventus.
Lionel Messi just looks unmotivated when wearing the blue and red and looks in dire need of a move.
Why has it taken so long for a transfer to occur?
Despite bringing them all the riches they could imagine, Barcelona has refused to allow Messi to leave without proper compensation. With a hefty 825 million dollar release clause, not many can pay for the superstar. Lionel attempted to terminate the said contract; however, Barcelona threatened to take him to court. Messi’s only chance of leaving would be to pay off his own contract, which he could not do. However, entering the final months of this settlement, the winger can speak with other clubs. When the summer begins, Lionel Messi will become a free agent and will be free to leave. Although he will undoubtedly say goodbye to Barcelona, it is yet to be determined where he will end up.
Where could he go?
Although many teams will fight for his signature, only a select few will stand out.
Manchester City looked like the frontrunners for the Argentinian’s signature. Due to their various connections to Messi and their large supply of money they can throw at him, the Cityzens won’t have too much difficulty bringing their target to England. Pep Guardiola, Messi’s former coach, and star striker Sergio Aguero, Godfather to his sons, will have a large part to play in landing Messi. Messi would fit well within this City side, as he’d form strong partnerships with some of the Sky Blue’s players, including Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne.
After high praise from the Barcelona winger on Pep Guardiola, it seems he’s begun to drop hints on his preferred destination. “Pep [Guardiola] has something special. He makes you wonderfully see things, how he prepares for games, how to defend, and how to attack.” Per La Sexta. Manchester is the most likely destination for the superstar; only time will tell if he decided to join the Englishmen.
Another likely destination for Messi is Paris Saint Germain. PSG is another team that can offer a large sum of money and has connections with him. PSG’s board is very interested in the winger and will surely do whatever it takes to bring him to the Parc Des Princes. Another way of enticing their target could e to offer the prospect of joining Neymar Jr. Messi clearly wanted to see Neymar Jr back in the blue and red over the summer. However, no deal was reached due to Barca’s lack of money. After closing the transfer window, Messi commented, “I would have loved Neymar to come.” Now, Messi may just go to Paris himself for a reunion with the Brazilian. An attacking trio of himself, Neymar, and Kylian Mappe would surely be devastating for all opponents.
A dark-horse team to sign Lionel Messi will be Cristiano Ronaldo‘s Juventus. The prospect of Messi playing with Ronaldo would be a sight for sore eyes for all fans of soccer. Playing together has always intrigued Messi. Finishing his career with his competitor for all trophies may be too hard to turn down. Juventus may look to off-load fellow Argentinian Paolo Dybala to gain the funds necessary for Messi because a deal is undoubtedly doable. However, Juventus won’t be able to match the same connections and money that other sides will offer. Juventus will undoubtedly make a play for Messi; however, they may simply pull out when his price gets too high.
Messi will carry out the season with Barcelona and will leave his club a hero. Despite a dramatic summer between him and the board, Barcelona will indeed always have a place in his heart. For now, however, fans can only sit and wait as they watch Messi make a groundbreaking move this summer.