It felt like the only way Lionel Messi would leave Barcelona would be as a champion, before returning to Argentina to play for a season or two at the end of his career.
Admittedly he is 33 years old so he might not have a lot of time left, but he’s also still playing at an incredible level and would be a great signing for any team in football.
Barca are at a true crossroads with an ageing team and a new manager, so you can understand it if he’s had enough and wants to go somewhere that offers him an immediate chance of silverware.
You can also argue that rebuilding Barcelona could be a five year plan due to the age of the squad, the lack of money to buy new players and a scarcity of youngsters who are good enough to step up.
Messi doesn’t have five years left to wait for things to turn around, and the latest report from Spain has suggested that he will be off:
Ojo !!! Leo Messi acaba de comunicar al Barcelona vía burofax que quiere abandonar el club. El jugador argentino se acogería a la cláusula que le permite rescindir el contrato unilateralmente.
— Alfredo Martínez (@Alfremartinezz) August 25, 2020
Not only has he told them that he wants to leave, but that report confirms that he has a clause that allows him to terminate his contract, so he’ll be able to leave without a transfer fee too.
There’s still a financial problem for any new team in that his wages will be astronomical, so there are only a few teams in the world that he can sign for.
It’s important to wait for the player or the club to announce this officially, but all signs are pointing towards an exit.
It’s interesting that there’s a cross-sport parallel with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, and they saw a similar situation earlier this year. He was one of the best players of all time and was completely synonymous with the team.
There was no way that anyone though Brady would ever leave, but after a disappointing season he looked at the ageing squad and decided he wanted to try something new, and it looks like Messi is doing something similar.