I still can’t quite believe that I’m typing these words...
Lionel Messi wants to leave Barcelona.
Six words that have completely broken the internet in the past few hours or so, and which have thrown a grenade into the boardroom.
When news first filtered out, the jokes were expected and they came thick and fast. And then they suddenly stopped. The realisation dawned on everyone. This was not a drill.
The best player to have ever played the game and Barca’s main man for the last two decades had decided enough was enough.
Frankly, whatever the why's and wherefores, and let’s be honest, we all know what they are, Leo deserves the upmost respect from the board.
Of all of their acts over the last few years which have left a sour taste in the mouth, trying to keep Messi at the club by taking him on in a court of law will be the most despicable of the lot.
If Josep Maria Bartomeu and his board had any ounce of decency, they would’ve resigned after the debacle against Bayern Munich.
There’s little to no chance of it happening now because of the expected financial burden that would befall them personally.
With Ronald Koeman talking openly in his lengthy club interview at the joy of having Messi in his side, the Dutchman would appear to now have to plan for life without him, which will markedly change the way in which Barca would’ve set up under him.
In any event, wherever Leo ends up, all cules will, I’m certain, wish him well. The only surprise to this seismic event would be if there were dissenting voices towards our captain and talisman.
The one player that has dragged Barca up more times than we care to imagine, but has been let down year on year since the last treble back in 2015.
‘Salid y disfrutad’ Johan Cruyff famously said. ‘Go out and enjoy.’
It was clear from Leo’s body language in the Bayern game that he’d had enough. The enjoyment had completely evaporated.
With his partner-in-crime, Luis Suarez, being told in no uncertain terms that he’s surplus to requirements, and no chance whatsoever of Neymar returning, 2020/21 already would’ve appeared to be another uphill struggle for Messi.
At least this way he goes out at the very top, with his legacy completely intact.
As it should be.