The end is the beginning & the beginning is the end for Messi & Barcelona
Legendary Barcelona forward and arguably the greatest player of all time, Lionel Messi has decided to part ways with Barcelona this summer.
The news has shocked fans all over the globe as the Argentine was synonymous with Barcelona and had previously vowed to end his glittering career at the Camp Nou.
But, as they say, one man’s bane is another’s bliss, the news has also given a chance for football fans all over the world to daydream about the six-time Ballon d’Or award winner joining their favourite club.
Messi reached the Catalan shores at a tender age of 13 and quickly established himself as one of the most talented players at Barca’s famous La Masia Academy. La Pulga quickly rose through the ranks and made his competitive debut for Barcelona aged 17.
What followed was a scintillating display of footballing pedigree as Barcelona went on to win anything and everything with the Argentine leading the charge. The Barcelona captain has since won 4 Champions League crowns, 10 La Liga titles, and 6 Copa del Rey and plenty more over the course of his career.
So what led to the breakdown in the relationship? Let’s take a look at some of the factors:
A fall-out with the Barcelona hierarchy
Lionel Messi infamously took a dig at then Barcelona Sporting Director and his former teammate, Eric Abidal on Instagram after he called out the Barcelona players for the sacking of former coach Ernesto Valverde.
The club captain took to Instagram and blasted Abidal for his statement. Messi is the leader of the dressing room and his fallout with the Sporting Director was a direct challenge to the hierarchy.
This was only going to end in three ways: Abidal issues an apology to Messi and his teammates, Barca get a new Sporting Director (Abidal resigned), and possibly a new President, or Messi leaves the club.
Displays on the pitch
Success at Barca is defined by winning trophies. Winning the La Liga alone is no longer considered a successful season. They want the big one (Champions League) every year as they think they are good enough and they have the best player in the world leading the charge.
After the humiliating losses in the knockout stage of the Champions League for the past two seasons, it was believed that Barcelona is geared up to go all the way in this CL season.
But, what followed was a mortifying 8-2 defeat at the hands of a vastly superior Bayern Munich. Losing their La Liga crown to their eternal rival, Real Madrid didn’t help matters either.
Barcelona’s dismal transfer policy
In the past few seasons, Barca has been notoriously dismal in the transfer market. They have brought in some big names and shelled a lot of money but the majority of them have been deemed failures. It has puzzled quite a few of us as to how these supremely talented individuals have not been able to perform to the best of their ability.
This factor was epitomized this season as their record signing Philippe Coutinho won the Champions League trophy while on loan with another club. He also was able to rub some salt into the wound as he scored a brace in Messi’s biggest competitive loss (8-2 against Bayern Munich) to date.
Legal aspect involved
Barca confirmed on Tuesday that Messi has indeed submitted a document, wherein he expressed his willingness to leave the club this summer. This was done by activating a clause in his contract, which allows him to leave the club at the end of any season.
However, the Catalan giants do not agree with the view that the clause is still active. According to them, the clause expired on June 10, which was ten days after the original date of this year’s Champions League final. But, technically the season got over a couple of days back after the culmination of rescheduled CL final.
Messi and his team of lawyers are hopeful that the club does not hinder his desire to leave. The skipper has been loyal to the badge and is their greatest ever player and it would be a great tragedy if it ends on a sour note.
What’s next for the Messiah?
Various clubs all over Europe are hopeful and are waiting with bated breath to welcome the magician at their club. Some of the clubs who have the financial might to secure his signature are Manchester City, Inter Milan, Juventus, PSG, and Manchester United among others.
The Argentine may choose to reunite with former Barca boss, Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. Pep was the one who brought his talent onto the world stage and Messi is also accustomed to his brand of football.
Internazionale and PSG are the other prime contenders to grab this wonderful opportunity. They have the money and are supremely ambitious clubs. They lost some big finals this year and with Messi in their ranks, they would feel confident to go one better next season.
Messi is also a brand apart from being one of the finest footballers to ever play the game. His signing will immediately bring his new club into the limelight and their popularity will soar.
Not to mention, the shirt sales and sponsorship money will go through the roof. Additionally, the club would also be able to infiltrate the untapped market potential in vast markets of Asia, where he is massively popular.
There always were question marks on Messi’s ability to thrive in other leagues. Critics were of the view that he wouldn’t be able to play his game in a physically demanding Premier League or a highly meticulous and somewhat defensive Serie A. All these questions are going to be answered soon as the Premier League and Serie A look to be the prime contenders to land the maestro as of now.
The news may come as a shock for Barcelona administration and fans all over the globe but this could be a blessing in disguise for a huge club in decline. Barcelona is in need of a serious overhaul all over the pitch.
Their dependence on Messi was there for the world to see. They were taught to keep calm and pass the ball to Messi and he will do the rest. But now, all the players will have to take equal responsibility. This end could be the beginning of a new era at the club as they look to reclaim their stake of being the biggest club in the world.
This impending transfer will mark an end to Messi’s legacy and discontinuation of a glorious association with the club for whom he has given his all. But, this could mark the beginning of a new era for Messi and his fandom as he looks for new pastures to prove that he is not a one-trick pony.