“There are players in the team who have filled the absences of men like Ronaldinho and Deco. We have other important players and we cannot blame their departures for our start to the season.”
More than six years ago, the great Xavi stated the above. He was defending the changes that were hitting Barcelona which was on the brink of becoming the best club in history and at the start of the sextuple season.
Fast forward to 2015, a similar situation is about to be witnessed and the Laporta overhaul that led to years of success is repeating itself.
Change is inevitably happening in Barcelona and it will be at all levels; management, board, players, etc.
But the major change that is making the headlines is summed up with one word: MESSI.
“Will Lionel Messi leave Barcelona? Will he stay? Is he campaigning against Luis Enrique? Will it be the year of another ‘disappointing’ performance?”
Well, and before judging the possibility of a Messi-less Barcelona, here are some thoughts why he actually needs to move away and ply his trademark in another club and a different league.
- The purge of the summer of 2008 resulted in seeing an explosive Messi and more coherent squad that made history. It is the time for Messi to leave to let others shine.
- There is no title that Messi did not win at club level. He is oversaturated and all the records are registered under his name. It is just right for him to seek a fresh challenge.
- Critics who say Messi is not a legend – based on his inability to win the World Cup – have a second argument to make: Messi never proved his skills but at one great club. He needs to prove his worthiness in a smaller or at least a new club away from La Liga. He may not actually need to prove anything but moving away is the only way to silence those critics.
- The selling of Messi will bring the right money needed to rebuild the squad and lure in world class talent, while sticking to the financial fair play rules.
- Barcelona became great with Messi, but is Barcelona capable of remaining as great without Messi? If he doesn’t leave we will not know in the near future (from January 2016 onward).
- The Messi – Ronaldo duel is allegedly the main reason why La Liga is getting attention. Doesn’t La Liga need an overhaul and more fairness to clubs other than Barcelona and Real Madrid?
Having stated my thoughts, the perfect destination for Messi would be the Italian league. Yes, he would make a better stand for himself if he moved to Italy and not to the English Premier League. Joining clubs like Milan, Roma, Lazio, or Napoli (not Juventus nor Inter Milan) is the perfect career move. It will bring the right exposure and lead the revival of Serie A. It will also motivate him to rewrite Maradona’s history and kill that one last demon. [On a side note, joining Paris Saint-Germain will bring to the French League the same fortunes his move to the Italian League will.]
However, and since there are few clubs which can afford his price tag, the possibilities he joins Chelsea or Manchester City are higher (while joining Arsenal will be the best choice on a personal level).
This current media created saga will not end but with an official statement from Messi or his entourage. And since there will be no such statement in the near future, we have to wait the results of the new elections at the club. The return of Laporta can give the fans and the club the assurances needed around Messi’s stay.
On a final note, Guillem Balague once hinted out that the real reason for Guardiola’s exit and the truth about any possible return will only be revealed in 2015. Hence, a Messi stay, a Guardiola return, and a Laporta re-election are the perfect scenario for every Barca dreamer.
Whether Messi stays or leaves, he owes nothing to prove to anyone. And away from my hopes to see him playing in a different league, I am a believer that he will retire in Barcelona.