Lionel Messi is more and more fed up, he speaks
Lionel Messi is fed up.
According to Spanish radio Cadena Ser, the Barcelona captain broke off contract talks after finally losing patience with the club due to rumors and constant allegations that he is one of the main reasons for the unrest around the camp. New.
Messi is disillusioned with a number of things emanating from his life in Barcelona at the moment. He is fed up with being accused of running the club, he is fed up with people who say he hires and fires the coaches, he is fed up with the demands he chooses who should be signed and who should play and be fed up of the club's general management and of the huge mistakes made in the transfer market.
That is enough, and now, according to the program of radio station El Larguero, he has announced to the club that he will leave at the end of next season.
What is behind it? How likely is it to happen? The whole story needs context.
Statements have been made against Messi that he wants the club to sign with French striker Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid, but he no longer wants him. False.
On a personal level, Griezmann joined Messi and Luis Suarez, with their wives, for dinner and their relationship is good, even if Griezmann has not yet found his niche on the side. In any case, Messi and Suarez consciously strive to help him adapt.
Management-wise, he was accused of firing former manager Tata Martino and current manager Quique Setien was hired because he liked his style of football. Not true.
As the highest paid player and number one in the club, such rumors come with the territory and it is indeed true that when important decisions regarding the playing aspects of the club have to be made, the names of the stars are always consulted . Of course they are, it's not something specific to Barcelona, and to do otherwise would be negligence.
But it is clear that it is difficult to find solutions. President Josep Maria Bartomeu notably made promises which he did not keep. "We will try to recover Neymar," he announced, knowing full well that he had already accepted Griezmann's signature. "We are going to sack Ernesto Valverde to bring Xavi," he said, but ultimately the club and the legendary midfielder decided they couldn't work together at this point.
Since his last renewal, Messi has a clause in his contract which allows him to leave at the end of the season. Even though he is happy in his familiar surroundings on a personal level - perhaps as he has never been before - he keeps the board on his feet.
He wants the team to compete, especially in Europe. And if he questions his future, it will force everyone to find a solution - namely, be smart in the market and attract good players.
Negotiations for a contract renewal went well. But the performance on the field left the Argentinian unhappy and confidence in Setien quickly diminished compared to a large percentage of the team.
Everything came back to the fore after Saturday's 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo, which made the goal of winning the league even more difficult. Big words were exchanged between Setien and some of the biggest names on the team. The manager, disappointed because he couldn't do many things he hoped to do when he arrived, took a bet. He told the players that things couldn't go on like this and that if there was no change, they could easily get rid of him.
It is not described as a resignation announcement, but as a means of seeking an answer.
The answer came. Conversations took place between the captains and Setien, as well as with Bartomeu, and bridges started to be built again. Gerard Pique, one of the captains and a man who always has a nose for good timing, posted a tweet asking for unity between the club and its fans.
But in this context of lack of confidence in the table, at a time when the manager could be replaced, when the players must be signed, when a new contract must be negotiated, Messi flexed his muscles and everyone heard his doubts , even if it came via a radio station.
There have of course been previous crossroads moments in the past when Messi almost left the club.
In its early days, while fighting with the Spanish bureaucracy and not yet an automatic starter in Barcelona, Inter Milan almost signed it when they said they weren't baffled by its buyout clause of 150 million euros and were ready to triple his salary. The wise words of the president at the time, Joan Laporta, turned things upside down. Messi, who never really wanted to go, stayed.
The tax evasion trial High profile had a huge impact on him and his family and also left him close to wanting to leave not only Barcelona, but also Spain. But once everything was settled and he returned to training, he decided to stay, although at that time, he could have had the choice of any club in the world, including Manchester City where Pep Guardiola was about to take over.
And now came a third crisis and with it a severe blow through the arcs of a hesitant board, accompanied by a clear message.
After three draws, and despite the start of the second phase of the league campaign in the right frame of mind, it quickly became very clear that, just as he had suspected earlier in the campaign, this team of Barcelona was not good enough to win the League champions.
Barcelona have not yet been able to finalize a deal for Argentine striker Lautaro Martinez, although he is precisely the type of player they need to continue competing at the highest level. At the club, they are optimistic about getting him.
Football will dictate whether a new manager is needed, which could mean forgetting old enemies and trying to approach Xavi again. Victor Font, candidate for the club's presidency in the next election in 2021, made no secret that the first thing he would do if elected was to install Xavi as a coach, regardless of the manager at the time. Xavi would almost certainly prefer taking the job with him at the helm, but football being football, never say never.
While the return of Xavi could see a welcome renewal of the Barcelona style for the team, we will have to see if the former captain will tackle the deep problems which run on the side, mainly the consequence of a team and a generation very successful who are seeing his last days.
Meanwhile, Messi will observe all of this with direct interest.
This article appeared first on: https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/53279422