In his recent interview with La Sexta, Lionel Messi gave an awful lot of hints about what may happen next in his career, whilst also being careful not to let the cat out of the bag just yet.
Reading between the lines of what the Argentinian said, it seems clear that it will take a monumental effort from Barcelona’s new president to keep the captain and best-ever player at Camp Nou.
A refusal to commit to the club, an acknowledgement of how difficult it will be for Barca to get back to where he would like them to be, chats with Pep Guardiola and an admittance of wanting to one day play in MLS all paint a narrative of a potential switch to Manchester City in the summer, followed by a move to New York City FC to end his career.
Messi has always maintained that any new contract at Barca isn’t about the money, he wants the team to be competitive.
The Catalans are a long way from that, whilst he could be the catalyst at City to help them to their first-ever Champions League title.
One can understand why that might be intoxicating for a player who probably has 2-3 years left at the top level.
That there’s a simple pathway to MLS via Manchester makes a decision that much easier.
However, if Joan Laporta was elected at the end of January, he is possibly the one presidential candidate with enough credit to be able to convince Messi to remain at Barcelona.