The Lionel Messi love story with Barcelona is definitively over. The door has been slammed firmly shut and the sooner culers move on and look forward, the better.
It was always just a romantic notion that he would come back to the club and can anyone honestly say that they believed it was going to happen?
At least this way, his legacy is preserved.
It wouldn’t have been the same and if Leo was unable to bring about further success, who is to say that his name wouldn’t have been tarnished in the eyes of those watching him every week?
He’s even admitted to wanting to get away from the pressures of it all.
With the World Cup now won too he has nothing left to prove in the game, and a move back to Barca may have meant he would’ve needed to do just that.
It was clear that Xavi wanted him back so he will now have to rethink how the team will set up in the new season.
There are significant improvements that need to be made, and with the potential financial windfall Xavi can expect now that Leo isn’t on his way back, there’s no reason why the club can’t go for a best-in-class Sergio Busquets replacement, as well as strengthening well in other areas.
La Liga was won at a canter with the team we had, so let’s see Xavi’s mettle as a coach in 2023-24 without the buffer of Messi propping the team up.
Joan Laporta’s role in this soap opera appears to have been much the same as it was in 2021 - smoke and mirrors.
It’s become abundantly clear that Barca were not even close to signing their former No.10, despite Laporta’s public proclamations, and to that end, the president is starting to make quite a name for himself.
Even Gerard Pique has publicly asked the question as to why the club still need to sell players given that he, Busi and Jordi Alba have moved on.
We knew things were bad, but just how bad are they at this point?
To that end, not bringing Leo home makes perfect sense. Why continue to mortgage our future for the sake of a few decent commercial deals?
Once Barca move back to the New Camp Nou, a full house farewell in the first match to be played in the new stadium is the perfect way to recognise Leo’s contribution to the club.