Where could Messi end up playing next season?
Barcelona have had a somewhat difficult time over the past couple of years, at least by their own lofty standards. Last season they missed out on any major silverware, finishing second in La Liga and only making it to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
They’re still in contention for this year’s league title but currently sit at third and they also crashed out of the Champions League even earlier this time around, when they lost to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in the Round of 16.
That being said, they are still a juggernaut of European football and have the ability to attract the best players in the world so if you’re taking advantage of these 38 new betting offers for May 2021, don’t rule Barcelona out of being back to their imperious best and reclaiming the Champions League next season.
Last season, Barcelona’s long-time captain and global superstar Lionel Messi handed in a transfer request. The news stunned the sporting world, but Messi’s move was ultimately blocked and he conceded that the only way to leave the club would be to take them to court, so he elected to stay.
This season, the Argentine has already racked up more goals than he did last year, netting 36 of them in 45 appearances, compared to 31 goals in the 2019-20 season across all competitions.
Clearly, as the club’s top scorer, Messi is an integral part of the team and would leave an enormous hole should he leave. His current contract is up at the end of this season, leading many to speculate about which shirt he will be pulling on for the 2021-22 campaign.
As things stand, Messi could well be committing his future to the club he’s spent his life at. Reports have emerged that the 33-year-old has informed Barcelona that he would be willing to take a paycut to his eye-watering 40million Euro per year salary, but only if the club make clear assurances over their actions in the summer transfer window.
Apparently, Messi has agreed to the pay cut so that Barcelona can use the money saved from it to finance the signing of Borussia Dortmund standout Erling Haaland.
New Barcelona boss Joan Laporta – who has made it clear one of his priorities is to get Messi to stay – apparently promised that the club are set to begin negotiating a deal for Haaland, thereby securing Messi’s future with the La Liga giants.
Laporta also has a good relationship with super-agent Mino Raiola, who is in charge of Haaland’s affairs, making a deal even more likely.
Aside from the money saved with Messi’s new deal, Barcelona would also still need to find further funding to complete a deal for Haaland, who Dortmund insist is not for sale. To that end, the top brass at the club are reportedly meeting with an investment firm.
While there’s still a lot that needs to fall into place for Messi to stick with Barcelona, it seems like the signs are pointing toward the all-time great staying with the club he’s found so much success with.
However, PSG still remain an enticing option for the six-time Ballon D’or winner. Reports claim that PSG bosses are determined to sign Messi in order to bolster an attacking line that already boasts the talents of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
After being knocked out of the Champions League by Manchester City recently, the Ligue 1 side are apparently now on the hunt for Messi while holding on to Neymar and Mbappe, which would make their offense one of the best in the world.
PSG are one of the few sides who could actually afford Messi, plus there’s the added incentive of a reunion with former teammate Neymar, who has previously hinted at a Messi signing for his current club.
English fans were excited at the prospect of Messi settling on their shores when City emerged as one of the main contenders to sign him when he announced his intention to leave Barca at the end of last season.
Like PSG, the Premier League side have the financial means to procure Messi’s talents, though there have been no confirmed reports that the club are in the market for him. Plus, they’re currently managed by Pep Guardiola, who still has a positive relationship with Messi after guiding him through some of his golden years at Barcelona.
The wildcard option for Messi would be somewhere like New York City FC. He has previously expressed a keen interest in playing and living in North America, despite the stark contrasts to Europe.
Other European greats like Thierry Henry, David Beckham and Steven Gerrard have ended their careers over in America, setting a precedent for Messi to follow. New York would be the favoured choice given their sister-links to Man City, through the City Football Group. This would ensure the money is there to get Messi on side.
Arguably the greatest footballer to ever live, Messi is at an interesting crossroads in his career. He looks to have the option of staying with his lifelong club, if they can meet his transfer demands, though there are other huge sides like PSG and Manchester City who could cough up the money required to provide him with new challenges.