Lionel Messi is without doubt one of the greatest players to set foot on this planet. A strong argument for him being the greatest of all time. Cristiano Ronaldo would obviously say otherwise and then ensues a tussle between both sets of their insufferable fans.
Let’s just appreciate they’re both incredible. Unlike CR7, the Argentinian has been a one club man, coming through La Masia and spending his whole professional career with the Blaugrana. They don’t make many like him in football anymore. But out of nowhere, there are murmurings that he could make a shock departure from the Nou Camp!
The ten time La Liga winner has a clause in his contract that allows him to leave Catalonia for FREE at the end of this season. Now, the thought of Messi and Barcelona separating is beyond comprehension. They owe everything to each other; Leo’s career and the Spanish side’s success as a club. Yet, after recent friction between himself and the board, there’s no surprise Manchester City are being linked to signing him.
Of course, crashing out of the Copa del Rey against Athletic Bilbao yesterday won’t do the situation any favours. Expect more rumours to start circulating…
Lionel Messi and Eric Abidal at loggerheads
This all has come after a public disagreement between Messi and Barcelona Sporting Director Eric Abidal. The 32-year-old hit back at the Frenchman’s claims stating that the Catalan club’s players not working hard enough. Not that he explicitly disagreed, but specifically asked for names:
“You should give names because otherwise you are tainting everyone’s name and feeding rumours that spread and are not true”Lionel Messi on Abidal’s comments about Barcelona players.
This comes as a shock in so many ways. Firstly, the fact Abidal and Messi were teammates during the glittering period of dominance for the Spanish giants. Secondly, the fact it’s the Argentinian international of all people coming out and publicly disagreeing. The media typically portrays him as humble, quietly confident and an overall nice guy. I’m not disputing he isn’t by the way. But in some ways, with all due respect to a legend of the game, it’s bordering unprofessional to question someone on the board. Regardless of your stature, surely the phrase ‘no one is bigger than the club’ springs to mind.
Lionel Messi – Bigger than Barcelona
But then to be honest, I think that’s an exception in this case. I don’t have to explain the brilliance and genius of Lionel Messi, we’ve got two articles showcasing it HERE and HERE if you’re interested. We’re blessed to watch him on the pitch, no doubt about it.
That being said, his influence off the pitch is not a secret either. He’s said he wanted Neymar to return in the summer and it’s not a coincidence Barcelona made subsequent efforts to sign him back from PSG. Even with the Albiceleste, shown in this article, it’s clear he’s so big to the point where he can call the shots on a lot of things. The increasing dependence on him by a poor present day Barcelona team obviously doesn’t help matters for the board.
Criticising his former treble winning teammate is an awkward situation though. It forced Club President Josep Bartomeu to call an emergency meeting with Abidal, discussing his comments and his position. He’s staying on; the right decision in my opinion. Abidal has helped provide the club with some form of stability, despite troubles on the pitch (Crashing out of the Copa del Rey against Athletic Bilbao yesterday evening). Yet, the fact even disagreeing with Lionel Messi can put your position under threat just highlights the amount of power he has. As Kanye West once said, no one man should have all that power.
Loyalty to Barcelona too strong?
Anyway, I’ll stop being cheesy and get to the point. I can’t see Messi leaving. Is he simply angling for a better deal by looking like he’s unhappy and fuelling transfer speculation? Perhaps. But I just can’t see it happening. If he wanted to leave and go on a journey of continental dominance, he would’ve left years ago. Either in or approaching his prime like Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Without me, Barcelona would be the same, without Barcelona I would be nothing.”Lionel Messi on Barcelona
But with Lionel, there’s loyalty there. Regardless of how poor Barcelona become on the pitch, it looks inevitable he will see out his career in their fabled shirt. Who would want to give up that influence and power anyway? Moreover, his family have spent the best part of their whole life in Spain. Why move and disrupt that all of a sudden? This perhaps is less important, but to my knowledge he doesn’t speak English either. All things put together, a move simply doesn’t make sense.
All cards in place for Manchester City?
On the other hand, you can see that a move away could be a possibility too, even if it’s a faint one. City can make him the highest paid player in the world by a considerable distance. No question about that. On top of this, a new league to finally silence critics. Maybe not specifically a cold Tuesday night in Stoke. I’m sure Turf Moor will suffice. But perhaps most important of all: a reunion with Pep Guardiola. You can see why Messi’s head could be tilted. No one expected Ronaldo to leave Madrid, but he did. So by that same logic, Leo could too. Circumstances different in multiple ways, but similar in others.
Every tabloid and news outlet will try and find anything they can hook onto, to suggest there’s a fall out between Lionel Messi and Barcelona. Exhibit A. But the Argentine has been linked to moves away before and has stayed put. Now 32-years-old, we don’t have long left to watch him or Ronaldo. They’re scarily close to either injuries, decline and eventual retirement.
Part of me wants him to stay at the Catalan side and cement his legacy as a one club man. As aforementioned, so rare nowadays. But as a Premier League fan, to see him play week in week out in England would be incredible. I still think this will quickly get resolved. In fact, according to Sky Sports, it already has. Also Pep has just come out and dismissed any claims City are going to sign Leo. So even the smallest chance of a move away looks like it has been shot down.
There would be riots in Barcelona if the club allowed him to leave on a free or fail to agree to his terms. Furthermore, all the reasons I’ve given above are pointing to the little genius staying with the Blaugrana until he hangs up his boots.
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