Barcelona announced Messi will not continue at the club after a remarkable career with the club. The Argentine was expected to sign a new deal after his last deal expired this summer.
An official statement was published on the club's website and on social media:
“Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi having reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles [Spanish Liga regulations]. As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona.”
Lionel Messi wanted to leave the club last summer, but did not want to cause any dispute between him and the club and decided to stay for one more season. Surprisingly, the Catalonia club held new presidential elections after the former president Josep Bartomeu resigned as a result of Messi's saga.
Joan Laporta's election as the president changed the situation, and the Argentine decided to continue playing for Barcelona. Recently, he reportedly agreed to a five-year deal with the team on a 50% pay cut terms, due to the club’s financial crisis. But the Catalonia club also needed to sell players to be in line with the league’s financial fair play. Selling players would help the financial crisis faced by the club with the debt currently at about €1.173 billion
Now, Lionel Messi is leaving the club as the highest goalscorer with 672 goals and 305 assists in 778 games. He won 35 trophies: 4 UEFA Champions League, 10 La Liga, 7 Copa Del Rey, 8 Supercopa De Espana, 3 UEFA Super Cup and 3 Club World Cup. He also won 6 Ballon d'Or, 6 European Golden Shoes, 8 Pichichi trophies playing for the club.
Can Messi still stay in Barcelona FC for 2021-22?
Could this be Barcelona putting pressure on La Liga? The Spanish league regulations make it impossible for the club to register him due to the wage limit. Although, the Argentine can still play for the Spanish club, if the wage limit in the league is adjusted.
Spanish league president Javier Tebas can decide to lift the club's salary limit to allow Barcelona to register Messi on a five-year deal. The league knows how much revenue they generate with Lionel Messi playing at the club and will also do everything to keep him.
Barcelona are second among clubs by probability of signing their highest goalscorer.
All in all, there are 2 options that can make Messi continue playing for Barcelona.
- La Liga can adjust the club’s salary limit, which will allow Barcelona to fulfill the league’s financial fair play regulations after registering Messi.
- Barcelona can sell other players with huge wages like Griezmann, Dembele, Umtiti to create space for Messi's wage while complying with the financial fair play.
Favourites to sign Lionel Messi for 2021-22 season
Paris Saint-Germain have been busy this transfer window bringing in high-profile players like Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi and Georginio Wijnaldum. Messi can be on the way to join his fellow Argentine players like Angel Di María and Leandro Paredes, after winning the Copa America last month. Kyalin Mbappe's refusal to sign a new contract with PSG can also mean they might bring in Messi and sell Mbappe to Real Madrid.
Messi’s good relationship with Neymar might come into play, with Neymar admitting he will still like to play with Messi during last summer transfer saga. PSG are the bookmakers’ favourites to sign Messi on a free transfer after trying to get him last summer.
Manchester City might make a move for the Argentine too after signing Jack Grealish for a record-breaking £100m. Pep Guardiola managed Messi at Barcelona, winning the treble and 2 Champions League with his tiki-taka style. The Citizens might turn their attention to Lionel as they are also keen on landing Harry Kane from Tottenham. Manchester City are one of the favorites to sign Messi on free transfer with his relationship with Pep coming in place.
Can Messi be on his way to MLS? The Argentine has once admitted his desire to play in the MLS sometime. This might be the opportunity for him to play in the North America. Having spent his holiday in Miami, he might feel good about an opportunity to play there.
Messi might also be on his way back to his old club Newell's Old Boys, which he joined Barcelona from at the age of 13. After winning his long awaited international trophy Copa America last month, the Argentine might decide it's time to go back home.
Lionel Messi's next club betting odds:
- Paris Saint-Germain — 1.91 (-110 American; 10/11 Fractional)
- Manchester City — 3.10 (+210; 21/10)
- To stay at Barcelona — 4.33 (+333; 10/3)
- Any MLS club — 12.00 (+1100; 11/1)
- Inter Milan — 13.00 (+1200; 12/1)
- Manchester United — 19.00 (+1800; 18/1)
- Newell's Old Boys — 21.00 (+2000; 20/1)
Prediction for the next club of Lionel Messi
Paris Saint-Germain look like the favorites to sign the Argentine star, so Messi may well be on his way to Ligue 1 for the upcoming season.
Recently, Di Maria posted a picture on his Instagram of him, Messi and 3 other PSG players: Neymar, Verratti and Paredes. I believe Neymar’s friendship with Messi since the MSN period will come into play, and Messi will join his former teammate at Paris.
Also, Mbappe having 1 year left on his contract and looking for a move to Real Madrid means PSG will go all out for Messi.
The Argentine should love PSG's project, as they are making top signings. This is one of the issues he had with his former team, Barcelona. With PSG, Messi will have the prospect of winning the Champions League again and competing for trophies at the top.