So, it has finally happened… Lionel Messi has demanded to leave Barcelona.
The stunning news broke on Tuesday evening, with multiple media outlets around the world all reporting that the Argentinean superstar has had enough at the Nou Camp following a disastrous season for the club.
He is believed to have sent a burofax to Barcelona demanding his exit, and it remains to be seen whether they will be able to change his mind.
What remains unclear, however, is where exactly he can go if he does move on, with very few clubs able to afford his astronomical wages or match his ambitions on the pitch.
Let's take a look at five potential destinations for arguably the greatest player to ever kick a football…
They both looked pretty fed up with their current lot in life over in Lisbon during the Champions League, so can Pep Guardiola and Messi find solace in each other’s arms?
City have essentially been given the green light to keep spending by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and this deal would top anything they’ve ever done before should they move to make it happen.
There are plenty of reasons why they shouldn’t do it – Messi is 33, and his motivation could be an issue – but there’s also one pretty solid reason why they should.
Just the thought of it, basically.
The Italians have quietly been linked with a move for Messi over the last couple of seasons, with their name almost just hovering in the background as a kind of threat when it comes to contract negotiations.
Could there be something in it though?
Few people, after all, considered the possibility of Cristiano Ronaldo moving to Serie A until he went and did it, and seeing the old rivalry play out again on the Italian stage would be something special.
With the club not short of money, and Messi’s old Argentina teammate Javier Zanetti on board as vice-president, there’s a possibility there.
Newell’s Old Boys
The romantic option would see the Newell’s Old Boys old boy make a dramatic return to his boyhood club.
Messi broke all sorts of youth records during his time at the Rosario-based outfit as a youngster, scoring an estimated 500 goals at various levels after he arrived at aged six.
He would leave for Barca in 2000, but while the prospect of a return is something that has been suggested in the past, you just think that this might not be the right time.
Newell’s – who play at the Estadio Marcelo Bielsa (and no we’re not including Leeds in this list) – aren’t exactly at their best right now, and Messi would surely find more lucrative offers elsewhere.
In Qatar, for starters.
His old Barca skipper Xavi is still in charge of Al-Sadd, and he and his entirely Spanish backroom staff will perhaps be trying to bend Messi’s ear over a move to the Middle East.
Former Arsenal star Santi Cazorla has already made that switch this summer, and you can bet that the Qatari authorities would be delighted to have Messi on board to boost the perception of football in the country ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
It still all feels a bit… surreal though doesn’t it?
Messi isn’t ageless, but a move to a league such as this one doesn’t quite sit right for him just yet, and that’s before you get into the political row it would doubtless provoke.
Staying at Barcelona
We almost appear at a point of no return, but there is still a chance that Barcelona may somehow be able to get Messi to perform a U-turn.
He may even be forced to stay, with debate over when the clause in his contract stating he is allowed to leave the club at the end of the season expires.
It is obvious that he is hugely unimpressed by goings on behind the scenes, and he is also clearly not bowled over by the appointment of new manager Ronald Koeman.
But Barca may still be able to sell themselves to Messi because of his deep affection for the club.
They’re going to have to get their house in order pretty soon, however, if they have any chance whatsoever of doing so.
Source: Read Full Article