For the first time, Lionel Messi is free: FC Barcelona remains confident about an extension of the contract of its superstar, but from Thursday, the six-fold Ballon d’Or is no longer an employee of the Catalan club … and holds the football planet in suspense.
This is the soap opera of the summer transfer window: since his first contract signed on a piece of the towel on December 14, 2000, superstar Lionel Messi, who just celebrated his 34th birthday on June 24, has always been linked to Barça.
And even if the president of the blaugrana club Joan Laporta played the appeasement Wednesday, by releasing a brief « Tranquilo » to the journalists, the future of the legendary Argentine N.10 makes the Blaugrana supporters tremble with impatience … and makes you dream , in secret, the extremely rich clubs of Europe.
According to the press, a contract proposal has been sent to Messi, who still has not accepted … But the club remain confident. However, the game was not won in advance.
Ten months after Burofax
Ten months ago, the N.10 signified his desire to leave Catalonia by sending a “Burofax” remained famous to the management of the club. A letter that had triggered all alarms within the Catalan institution, and which had led to the resignation of President Josep Maria Bartomeu, in October 2020.
Since then, Messi, silent as usual, has never given the slightest hint. The « Pulga » (chip, in Spanish), gave only two interviews: one in December, and one at the end of the championship, where he has always repeated that he has « not decided anything yet ».
« It’s very special to be the captain of the team where I have played all my life, » however confided Messi on the evening of the Copa del Rey 4-0 coronation against Athletic Bilbao, the only trophy gleaned by Barça this season, April 17 in Seville.
And the « Chip » may not express itself anytime soon, too busy impressing the South American continent during a Copa America that it flies over with Argentina: top scorer with 3 goals, best passer with 2 assists , he also qualified the Albiceleste for the quarterfinals against Ecuador.
But there are many reasons to believe in it for Barça. First, because Messi came in person to deposit his ballot in the ballot box during the election for the presidency of the Catalan club last March, a great first.
The Laporta key
The election of Laporta, with whom he has a good relationship, weighed in the balance. And since his return to the helm, the president has continued to do everything possible to retain his star, despite the stratospheric contract revealed on February 1, which he had to arrange within the framework of the financial limits of Barça, who is in the Red.
Above all, the sporting framework has become viable again, after a year 2020 to be forgotten. Under Ronald Koeman, Barça recruited the compatriot and great friend of Messi Sergio Aguero, and a professional center forward with Memphis Depay, and hatched Ansu Fati, Pedri and Riqui Puig, the young people of the “Masia” (the prestigious Catalan training center), to once again bring Barça to the fore.
Admittedly, there were still sporting disappointments: the disappointment of the slap in the face of Paris SG in C1 (4-1, 1-1), the frustration of having squandered his chances in the final sprint of La Liga …
But in the midst of all this, Messi, excited by the feeling of having succeeded in rebuilding a competitive team, has yet another stratospheric season: he finished top scorer in the Spanish league (30 goals in 35 matches), overtook King Pelé to become the top scorer in history in one and the same club, and in the process became, in March, the player having played the most matches at Barça, in front of the 767 appearances of the blaugrana legend Xavi .
According to the press, visuals on the extension of Messi circulated at the beginning of the week. His new contract would include a two-year extension at Barça, then a departure to MLS, to Inter Miami, to end his playing career and continue to represent the interests of the Catalan club internationally.
Despite everything, the uncertainty still eats away at Catalan fans, worried about seeing their idol free. So, “se queda” or “se va”?