Transfer of the century: Lionel Messi to leave Barcelona next season for free
Luis Figo- “For me to watch Messi is a pleasure – it’s like having an orgasm – it’s an incredible pleasure.”
Paolo Maldini- “I think he reached and surpassed the level of Maradona. He does incredible things, at a speed that is insane.”
Diego Maradona- “I have seen the player who will inherit my place in Argentine football and his name is Messi. Messi is a genius.”
With these kinds of comments from the greats of the sport, it is not difficult to imagine how good Lionel Messi is. However this summer Messi was in the limelight for a completely different reason. After a humiliating 8-2 defeat in the 2019-2020 champions league quarter-finals to Bayern Munich and conceding the La Liga title to bitter rivals Real Madrid, it was clear that FC Barcelona needed some urgent change. To the utter disbelief of everyone, Messi announced that he wanted to leave Barcelona that summer.
The transfer controversies
Messi stated that he wanted to leave FC Barcelona that summer for free and could do so as it was clearly stated in his contract. However, the FC Barcelona board disregarded the fact that Messi could leave the club for free and stated that any club willing to buy their ace player would have to pay the release clause which was €700 million. The situation worsened quickly and FC Barcelona was prepared to go to the court to keep their ace player till the summer of 2021, i.e. until his contract ended. Messi ultimately decided to stay at the club for one more season stating that he loves FC Barcelone very much and he would never go to court against them.
Possible destinations for Lionel Messi
There are only a handful of clubs in the world that can afford to hire the likes of Lionel Messi.
1. Manchester City are favourites to sign the Argentinian Magician who definitely have the financial backing to do so. With Pep Guardiola being the in-charge of Manchester City and the manager under whom Messi shined the brightest, it won't be surprising to see Messi opting to play under Guardiola once again
2. Juventus also have the financial backing to sign Lionel Messi and with Cristiano Ronaldo already there it would definitely be a pair made in heaven and a nightmare for defenders.
3. PSG are also in line in signing the Little Magician as they have made a name for themselves in the recent years regarding high profile transfers. With Neymar at PSG, Messi could well be tempted to be reunited with his old teammate.
No matter where he ends up, it is certain that he will continue to defy logic and will still be an absolute treat to watch. Although this controversy was unfortunate and leaving the club in such situations most definitely would have hurt the fans. Amidst all this, he still remains an invaluable asset for FC Barcelona and the best player on the planet.