By Preye Campbell
Lionel Messi leaves Barcelona. That’s one headline I only imagined in my wildest things but with the look of things, it just might happen. And even sooner than later.
And who is to blame the little Argentine Magician? After so many lethargic displays from the Catalonia outfit over the last few seasons, one would be right to assume that the six-time Ballon D’or winner had seen enough at a club that has been synonymous to home. Over time, Messi has been in the middle of a falling Barca group, with the powers off the field making errors and compounding them. that of course, will rub off on what we see on the field anyway. Otherwise, how would anyone explain the shocking signings the club has made over the years?
It seemed to me that the last time the Blaugrana side had an efficient team was the 2014/15 season. The result? Barca won the treble that season and boasted a formidable triumvirate of Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar Jr. That attack has since degenerated and lost any kind of appeal it once had, as Messi now laces his boots with the likes of Martin Braithwaite, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele in line. Over the years, we saw a one-man team. It wasn’t F.C. Barcelona anymore, it was F.C. Messi. So many times, we saw Messi add the spark to a lifeless team during games and you could see the frustration in the man.
Perhaps, the 8-2 humiliation at the hands of current Champions League kings Bayern Munich was the last straw to break the camel’s back, we had seen the cracks on the wall along the season. It was just so evident that little could be achieved with this current crop of Barca players. The team did not in any way fit that outstanding team of 2009. And just as I have opined, this current Barca team is just the replica of having Messi in a Bournemouth team (my apologies).
Of course, with Messi comes the realisation that we now have an ageing player in our hands, quite different from the kind of player we had ten years ago. Messi may not be at his fluent best but that could be down to the team he currently plays with.
And so, when the news came that Messi could leave Barca this transfer window, the creme-de-la-creme clubs of European football all fell down art the master’s feet. In over 24 hours, Messi has been linked with moves to Italy, England and France.
It remains to be seen if Messi will make a move and we won’t be surprised if he decides to stay put. This is not the first time he has been linked with an exit from the Camp Nou. But for what it’s worth, the headline Messi Leaves might just be put in use soon. Very soon.