FC Barcelona – La Liga The opinion of Carlos Carpio
I was told the following just over a month ago, shortly after Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned on October 27. “Lionel Messi is still willing to leave Barcelona and hasn’t changed his mind,” is what I was informed.
My source explained the reasons why he is still thinking this way and explained why the arrival of a new president is unlikely to change his decision.
Messi is convinced that his time at Barcelona has reached its conclusion. Or, better said, that it will do this June when his contract expires. Aged 33, he wants to keep fighting to win everything over his final few years at the top level. That means fighting for the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or, his main objectives.
He knows better than anyone that this would be impossible at Barcelona next season, with too serious a financial crisis to launch the sporting regeneration needed.
That’s why his decision to leave isn’t linked to who wins the presidential elections on January 24. Whether it’s Joan Laporta, Victor Font or somebody else, there’s little anybody can do to build a competitive team straight away.
In terms of possible landing spots, it’s clear. There’s Manchester City and there’s Paris Saint-Germain. Even though he was more strongly linked with Pep Guardiola‘s side last summer, we shouldn’t rule out the French side because they could use money from a potential Kylian Mbappe sale to Real Madrid to bring in and pay Neymar‘s best friend.
Knowing all this and also knowing that this is such a difficult decision on a personal level, we also can’t rule out the possibility of Messi changing his mind and staying in his comfort zone at Barcelona.
I followed the interview he gave to Jordi Evole last Sunday to look for clues. Did I find any? Judge for yourselves.
“It won’t be easy to turn all this around, but I hope that whoever wins the elections can do things well to put this great club back where it deserves to be,” he said.
“We know the club is in a really bad state and it’ll be difficult to put it back to where it was, so it’ll be difficult too to bring in players because there’s no money.
“I knew this was going to be a year of transition, of young and new people, and I said, as I always do, that I want to fight for titles and fight again to win the Champions League and the league title.
“I felt that it was the best moment for me and for everyone. I felt I’d completed a cycle and that it was the moment [to leave]. I wanted to go and do it in the right way.
“It was a terribly difficult decision to take, but I felt it was the best moment for me and for all.”
These are all lines that were said by Messi during that interview. He also, though, said the following.
“I don’t have my future at all clear and I’m going to wait until the end of the season,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll go or not and if I do go then I want to do so in the best way.”
He says he doesn’t have it clear in his mind, but I think he does. Enjoy Messi while you can, because this is about to end.