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Lionel Messi Is Not Joining Chelsea FC

In which I relay news that reports linking Lionel Messi with a move away from Catalunya today are click-bait, and nothing more

David Ramos/Getty Images

It’s been a tough day for FC Barcelona. The reaction to last night’s defeat against Real Sociedad has been predictably brutal; Culés were baying for blood and they’ve got their wish. Sporting Director Andoni Zubizarreta has been sacked, dismissed from his role with immediate effect; gone too is his assistant, Carles Puyol who has left of his own volition – arguably before he too was pushed by the board.

Indeed, it’s surprising to see so many Culés rejoicing in the news as a sign of progress in their continuing battle against incumbent club president, Josep Maria Bartomeu. "Bartomeu", they say, "you’re next" – wilfully ignoring the fact that Zubizarreta hasn’t been sacked by the fans; rather Bartomeu himself was the only man capable of making the decision. Criticism from the stands didn’t force Bartomeu’s hand, indeed everything suggests at an internal disagreement being the straw that broke the camel’s back.

So, Culés, Bartomeu probably won’t be next. At least not now, and not until at least the end of the season either. Even then, no elections have been formally announced as of yet; so as things stand, Bartomeu will continue as club president for years to come.

Irrespective, this complex, dramatic day is as sure a sign as any that this club is currently in turmoil. There are power struggles internally, externally; at board-room level, in the crowds and reportedly even in the dressing room. For now though, all we have are rumours. Reported "news" stories purporting to carry the facts, the juicy behind-the-scenes gossip from inside the Camp Nou; all being penned by media outlets, or at its worst by journalists, with their own agenda.

As per usual, the media won’t ever let the truth stand between them and promoting that agenda when they see an opportunity. Plant a story, stir the pot, sit back, open the popcorn and enjoy. Rinse, repeat.

Case in point: today’s developments involving Lionel Messi. After being benched by Luis Enrique last night, reports emerged claiming that Messi had fallen out with Enrique and is "holding monumental anger" towards his coach. Let’s forget all we know about Lionel Messi. You know...the part where he’s a reserved kind of guy, a guy who has always respected authority and never once questioned his manager.

He was left out of the squad by Frank Rijkaard for the 2006 UEFA Champions League final; he was unhappy, but never once did he hold any ill-will towards the Dutchman. Under Pep Guardiola and Tito Vilanova, Messi thrived. The same could be said about his time under Gerardo Martino. At an international level, Messi was mismanaged by countless coaches and to this day he hasn’t said a single bad word about any one of them.

But of course, Messi is angry at Luis Enrique according to these reports – after all, these reports originate from such a reliable, credible source: Cadena COPE. Oh wait, is this the same Cadena COPE that’s reportedly on the Real Madrid payroll? Is this the same Cadena COPE that falsely accused FC Barcelona and its players of doping during their glory years under Pep Guardiola?

That’s right, it’s those guys – back again, reportedly close to Lionel Messi or other sources at the club they defamed and by whom they were sued just a few years ago!

Or maybe they’re back at their old game, baselessly attempting to destabilise FC Barcelona to promote their own, pro-Real Madrid, right-wing agenda?

It seems like a non-story at best, which brings us nicely onto Lionel Messi following Chelsea on Instagram. After all, if he was going to leave his boyhood club, the one that he has repeatedly stated his desire at which he wishes to end his career, he would join the club that the majority of Culés despise, right?

I hear what you’re saying – this isn’t about the fans, it’s about the board, that’s the reason why Messi reportedly wants to leave. So then, why would he join the club managed by Jose Mourinho, a man who was backed for the FC Barcelona job ahead of Pep Guardiola by public enemy number one and Bartomeu’s close friend, Sandro Rosell?

That's right, because "Messi to Chelsea" is a story that’s far more click-worthy and is going to sell far more newspapers than "Messi stays at FC Barcelona"...

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