Thursday, July 01, 2021
The superstar has no contract
What will happen to Lionel Messi?
Lionel Messi’s contract with FC Barcelona has expired. As of today he is without a valid working paper. The future of the 34-year-old is still open. Will he stay in Catalonia, will he move to England or will he be drawn to the USA for the last few years of his career?
The future of soccer superstar Lionel Messi remains open. Whether he will play for FC Barcelona in the coming season or actually leave his club since his youth – unclear. Until his contract expired at midnight on Wednesday, FC Barcelona, for whom Messi has played in the professional team since 2004, did not make an official statement about a contract extension with or a farewell to the 34-year-old. The offensive player has not commented either.
That would mean that Messi would be without a contract for the first time after 17 seasons in Barcelona, provided that there is not a continuation of the cooperation that has not yet been announced and could change free of charge. The national record player from Argentina, who has just led the “Albiceleste” to the quarter-finals of the Copa America in Brazil, has played for Blaugrana since he was 13 years old. The six-time world footballer won 35 titles with Barça.
Barcelona only “moderately optimistic”
It is unclear whether an agreement on a new contract will not be reached in the coming days. The negotiations between Messi and Barça are well advanced, only details are missing, the newspaper “Sport” had recently written. The “Marca” had reported that both parties are continuing to negotiate. However, there has been no major progress to report for days. According to reports from the French and Spanish media, Paris in particular is interested in signing the exceptional talent. The English champions Manchester City, coached by Messi’s ex-coach Pep Guardiola, are also said to be interested.
The new club boss Joan Laporta is determined to keep Messi. Laporta said at the end of May that he was “moderately optimistic” that Messi would also go hunting for goals for the Catalans next season. The new contract was making progress, but it was not finished yet, it said. According to the media, a long-term contract should be in the room. According to “Marca”, Messi will extend for two more years at Camp Nou, for 50 million euros gross. Then he will serve as a club ambassador for another ten years. In addition, he could end his career abroad if he wanted.
The greatest Barcelona player of all time
Laporta stressed in May that the financially troubled club wanted to make a good offer to Messi “as far as possible”. But first and foremost, Messi wanted the team to strengthen itself well, it said. Messi and Barcelona only won the Spanish Cup this year. In the Primera División, the Catalans only finished third, in the Champions League they failed in the round of 16 against Paris Saint-Germain.
Messi had already tried to leave the club last summer. He was prevented from doing so by the club boss Josep Bartomeu, who later resigned and with whom he fell out. Bartomeu only wanted to allow this if the transfer clause of 700 million euros stipulated in the contract was activated, Messi said at the time. “And that’s impossible,” Messi said last September.
Despite having to stand against his will, Messi shone again this season, becoming La Liga top scorer for the eighth time with 30 goals. He holds all of the club’s major records: Messi is the Barça player with the most goals (672), most games (778), most titles and most wins in the club’s 121-year history.
La Liga is becoming less important
La Liga, Spain’s top division, has lost its sporting substance in recent years. The English Premier League has replaced them as Europe’s leading league. After Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Juventus in Italy in 2018, the league is now threatened with the loss of two more superstars. Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos face a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain and Messi’s loss would be even more serious. “If CR7 goes, that’s no problem, if Messi went, we would notice,” said league president Javier Tebas in 2018.
Messi won a total of 35 titles in 17 seasons with Barcelona, including four times the Champions League, ten times the championship, seven times the cup and eight times the Spanish Supercup. Messi had come to Barcelona at the age of 13 when he emigrated with his family from Argentina to Spain to seek his fortune in the club’s youth academy. He made his professional debut for Barça on October 16, 2004.