When Lionel Messi announced to his family last summer that he would be leaving Barcelona to play abroad, everyone involved was in tears.
The move never took place because the Argentine did not want to go to court following a high-profile dispute in which he believed his contract entitled him to a free transfer, which the Catalans denied.
The final year of his contract does not include an exit clause, meaning he could leave for nothing in January, but the 33-year-old has yet to make a final decision on his future. Although he has considered moving several times, he has never been closer to leaving the club he joined at the age of 12.
At the time, it was his decision to stay in Spain with his father instead of returning to Argentina that ultimately tore his family apart. The decision was made to change lives. What awaits him now will not be so traumatic, but it will have serious consequences.
Uncertainty over his future is the order of the day this week as Messi leads Barcelona to a thrilling Champions League Round of 16 tie with Paris Saint-Germain, a club who wanted him this summer and whose interest has not been wavered.
Pressure on Messi at PSG
As the match against PSG approached, Barcelona continued to receive reports from France about Messi’s future.
France Football magazine published a photo of Messi in a PSG jersey, as well as a large article detailing all aspects of a deal that could bring a player to France.
If Lionel Messi travels to Paris for the return, does this mean he is moving to the French capital in the summer?
Barcelona accused PSG of disrespect, although the French club believes that Barcelona’s position is a bit rich because it is pursuing – through the coverage of Catalan sports media – players such as Marco Verratti, Angel di Maria, Marquinhos and, in particular, the long-awaited (and now dead) return of Neymar to Barcelona, potential moves that have also often been publicly discussed by Barcelona players and even filmmakers.
You should also point out that Messi is a free agent, so they have the right to make their move.
Neymar is another burglar and wasn’t exactly in the hot seat when he announced PSG’s Champions League victory over Manchester United in December : Above all, I want to play with [Messi] again, enjoy being on the pitch with him again.
He could have played me. I’m sure he won’t have any problems. I want to play with him again and I am sure we will next season.
Di Maria, Verratti and Leandro Paredes have also spoken and even PSG sporting director Leonardo said they will try to get him if he comes on the market.
Messi sent a very clear message to the media: he was not very happy with the fact that many people, some of whom he considered friends, were pressuring him to make a decision.
The difficulty is that Neymar has apparently agreed to stay in Paris, and Kylian Mbappe is also considering leaving the club, and if he is to do so, he will have to negotiate a contract this summer.
His contract expires in June 2022 and PSG have stated that they are willing to pay him around the same amount as Neymar, around €37 million net – something that Real Madrid cannot offer until a creative deal is signed.
No one can guarantee what Mbappe will do next. What does that mean for Messi? Because if there’s one thing no one absolutely believes, it’s that the PSG will have room for all three players.
The Messi saga is also influencing decision-making at other clubs. Kevin de Bruyne postponed contract negotiations with Manchester City because he was not very happy with City’s initial offer. He has the impression, published by the Belgian media he trusts, that he is not being offered as much as they can afford, perhaps because they are saving money in case Messi comes.
Unfortunate summer – how is Messi feeling at the moment?
Presidential election in Barcelona, held on 7. March will decide the future direction of the club.
When Messi informed the club of his intention to leave in August via the now infamous Burofax, he was furious. He has since said in one of his two interviews that this was the only way to get the club’s attention.
He had been telling Ruben Uriah of Goal.com about his intention to leave for months, but to no avail. Writing was the only way to get the club’s attention.
Messi knew that his contract stated that he had to let Barcelona know before the end of last season if he wanted to leave the club. He filed his transfer request on the 25th. August, while the season was still going on because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But Barca’s position was that the end date of the regular season, once the contract was signed to the letter, was the 10th. June came a few days after the end of the regular season, which should have ended under normal circumstances.
In the end, Messi decided not to get involved in the legal battle, even though he was convinced he could have won it. But it was far from saying that he was satisfied with the situation.
He wasn’t, and in fact he felt betrayed. It didn’t help when the club started briefing the press without briefing the public to make Messi look like the bad guy of the piece.
Despite this unfortunate background, Messi reluctantly decided to stay on this season, although at times he felt like he was gritting his teeth.
Now that President Josep Maria Bartomeu is past tense, and on the 7th. In March to elect a new president, Messi is concentrating more on the tasks on the ground.
He knows the club is going through a difficult time, but more importantly, he knows there is nothing he can do about it except play to the best of his ability.
The team has improved and a young core has emerged. They are unbeaten in 12 La Liga games and have won nine of them. The hugs and smiles from the large groups confirm that the new manager Ronald Koeman is at a loss for words.
Much has been said about the relationship between Messi and Coeman and a possible power dynamic when the Dutchman was appointed in August. The captain has no problem with his superior as such, but he doesn’t have an unwavering bond with him either.
Koeman’s family members want the two to have a close relationship, to talk a lot about football, so that Messi can appreciate that the Dutchman is honest.
But it’s not really as good a relationship as the one he had with Ernesto Valverde. The same direct conversation in public could get Koeman in trouble, as he has little filter when he says what he thinks. But respect was shown from the start.
The two met at Messi’s home before the Burofax incident, when Messi informed Koeman of his intention to leave the club.
Koeman told the player that what happened with the board in the past had absolutely nothing to do with him. Messi, he said, will be the leader of his team, but whatever he decides, he will be respected.
It didn’t take long for Koeman to realise that things weren’t going so well in the Barcelona dressing room. Many members of the old guard were annoyed at the way the club had handled the departure of several former top players.
Messi was still angry when Luis Suarez was shown the door, apparently after a less than two-minute phone conversation with his manager.
Concerns have also been raised in ongoing negotiations between the players and the board about the significant salary cuts due to the coronavirus.
The good news for Koeman and Barcelona as a whole is that Messi is gradually regaining his mojo.
The Argentine is certainly demanding, but he believes in the project, although he also acknowledges that reinforcements are needed, and is unsure how this can be done with a club on the verge of bankruptcy.
His behavior on the field is a reflection of what is going on with him. The goals are celebrated with the whole group, and now he seems to be all in.
He was benched for a few games, but that was agreed with the manager. He is now one of La Liga’s top scorers and assistants, despite two injuries that have caused him to miss games.
Messi scored four goals in eight matches against Paris Saint-Germain
The only thing Messi has decided so far is that he has no intention of deciding anything before the end of the season.
The first thing he is waiting for is to find out who will be the new president of Barcelona. The favorite is former president Joan Laporta and the word from her camp is that they are pretty sure the captain will stay if he wins the election, although they are unlikely to say anything else during the campaign.
Laporta reportedly wants to go ahead with a project likely based on the sale of the French contingent (Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti), with the aim of raising around €200 million and then strengthening the team with a central defender – David Alaba from Bayern, maybe and almost certainly Erik Garcia from Manchester City – a left-back and then maybe a top player up front, maybe someone like Erling Brauth Haaland.
However, the harsh reality is that it remains to be seen whether these players will pursue €200 million on the free market in the current economic climate. Either way, we have to sell.
Laporta will use the World Cup in Qatar as a way to convince Messi to stay in Spain. Why not have a year and a half after what will almost certainly be his last hurrah at the World Cup, his last chance to win the one big trophy that has eluded him so far, muddying the waters with uncertain and potentially worrying changes?
Messi dreams of one day going to the United States, an idea encouraged by the close friendship between his wife Antonella and Daniela Semaan, wife of his great friend and former teammate Cesc Fabregas.
Cesc and Daniella have been trying to persuade Messis to join them on their next adventure, which they hope will be in Major League Soccer.
Things change in football and often very quickly. With their season seemingly back on track, Barcelona face the difficult task of reaching the final of the Copa del Rey after losing 2-0 to Sevilla in the first round of their semi-final last week, while a possible draw against PSG on Tuesday will decide their season.
Barcelona have not won against Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla since 2019. How will Messi feel if Barcelona lose to the big boys in European and national competitions this season?
Messi has not spoken to any of the three presidential candidates and has no intention of doing so. And he’s not going to tell the new president what to do. He will listen to what he has to offer, what the plan is, and then live from day to day until it is time to make the biggest decision of his adult life.
PSG (and the city of Manchester) will be waiting.
frequently asked questions
Will Messi transfer to the MTP?
Lionel Messi could join Paris Saint-Germain for free this summer to replace Kylian Mbappe. … The World Cup winner, whose contract expires in 2022, has been linked with a move to Real Madrid and Liverpool, while Messi will leave Barcelona when his contract expires at the end of the season.
Will Messi leave Barcelona in 2021?
Lionel Messi cannot leave Barcelona in 2021, club legend Ferrer said.
How many years has Messi spent in Barcelona?
After 16 years with Barcelona, Lionel Messi decided to say goodbye to the club where he had played his entire professional career. The club confirmed that the Argentine superstar intends to activate a unilateral clause in her contract.