The future of Lionel Messi has dominated headlines in recent days since the 8-2 thrashing by Bayern Munich. For the first time in like forever, Messi is actually contemplating a move away from the Camp Nou. This is as a result of the shambolic state the club currently finds itself on and off the pitch. A first trophyless season since 2008 coupled with the turbulence within the Barcelona hierarchy summarizes how much of a mess the Catalans are in currently.
A report first came out that Messi would leave in 2021 if there was no restructuring of the club. That has now changed as he is reported to wanting a move this summer. However, Spanish football expert Graham Hunter believes Messi will only go where he believes he can win the Champions League. The Argentine has failed to taste success on the European front since 2015 treble-winning season under Luis Enrique. Back to back second leg capitulations against Roma and Liverpool in the last three years have summed up Barcelona’s recent seasons in Europe.
While speaking to Sky Sports News, Hunter said:
Clubs who want him are suddenly going to be asked for 100 million euros for a 33-year-old, and it’s possible there might be one or two willing to pay that, but he then has to look around and say if I’m disrupting my life and taking my family out of a place where I’ve always said I wanted to stay, will he be joining a winning franchise. He doesn’t want to leave for more money or just to be out of the mess that is going on around him, he wants to win the Champions League. It’s a very complicated equation to work out how he leaves, or to where he might go. Of course, he is waiting to see the developments [regarding the board and manager] and whether he believes that might make a difference to him staying and winning at Barcelona.”
Speaking of new developments, Ronald Koeman is set to take over from Quique Setien who has been relieved of his duties after the thrashing at the hands of Bayern so it will be interesting to see if and how Messi gets along with his new gaffer. In the meantime, Messi will be faced with what is probably the most difficult decision of his career as he enters its twilight.