In June 2021, Lionel Messi’s deal at Barcelona comes to an end. Because of that, the Argentine is now free to discuss a pre-contract deal with clubs outside of Spain. However, as per the Radio Times, the 33-year-old will wait until the end of the season before making any decisions.
Since joining the Catalan club’s youth setup in 2003, Messi has led by example at the Nou Camp. But now, his future is up in the air, especially after attempting to force a move in the 2020 summer transfer window. So, what does the future hold for Messi and Barcelona?
Could Joan Laporta Hold the Key?
At the start of the 2020-21 season, Barca parted ways with their long-standing president, Josep Maria Bartomeu. Having held the role since January 2014, the Spaniard took the club to three La Liga titles, four Copa del Reys, one UEFA Champions League, and several other honours. However, for all of Bartomeu’s good work, he was a primary factor in Messi’s desire to depart the Nou Camp.
According to 90min, their relationship turned sour, with the Argentine declaring that the former president cheated him “in many things”. Following Bartomeu’s departure, it’s currently unclear if Messi will remain at Barcelona beyond his current contract, but the prospect certainly isn’t hindered by the Spaniard’s resignation.
At the time of writing, Carles Tusquets is Blaugrana’s interim president, although he is likely to be replaced at the upcoming election. Of those running for the position, Joan Laporta believes that his appointment would keep Messi in Spain.
Fascinatingly, the 58-year-old held the role between 2003 and 2010. During this period, Barcelona won four league titles and two Champions Leagues, along with other domestic and international trophies. On a personal level, Messi won his first two Ballon d’Ors in 2009 and 2010, showcasing that he hit the heights during Laporta’s first reign.
In a report by Goal, Laporta states that he “has a good relationship” with Messi, and there’s a “lot of respect” between them. Although there are no guarantees that the presidential candidate holds the key, it’s undeniable that he and Messi share a positive working relationship, which was too often lacking with Bartomeu.
Barcelona aside, Messi’s departure would negatively impact La Liga as a whole. Because of the 33-year-old’s contributions over his 16-year career in Catalonia, he’s been central to making the Spanish top-flight the sport’s second-most popular league.
As such, the division now possesses a global audience base, and this is evident in the fact that La Liga attracts plenty of betting action at Asiabet.org’s top-rated football betting sites. At platforms like Dafabet, football fans can explore various market options, with La Liga being a prominent draw, alongside the Premier League, Serie A and Bundesliga. Messi is a huge part of this.
Is a Reunion with Pep Guardiola on the Cards?
Because of the finances involved, few teams will have the capabilities to bring in Messi should he opt to leave Barcelona on a free transfer. Fascinatingly, his pending availability, combined with Manchester City’s spending power and Pep Guardiola’s position at the club, makes the Citizens an intriguing prospect.
If Messi wishes to experience the Premier League before hanging up his boots, this may be his best opportunity.
The 33-year-old scored 211 goals in 219 games under Guardiola during their time at the Nou Camp.
Moreover, he also created a further 91, giving him a goal contribution total of 1.37 per game. During the Spaniard’s tenure, Messi won four consecutive Ballon d’Ors between 2009 and 2012.
Aside from City, the Argentine has been linked with moves to both Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Miami. While PSG can pay Messi a wage that his talent deserves, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner has recently voiced his desire to play in the MLS.
Because of that, joining David Beckham’s newly-formed side isn’t out of the question. However, as we wrote here at wiseloaded.com, PSG are currently the frontrunners to sign the 33-year-old.
A Future of Uncertainty
As Messi is adamant that nothing will change any time soon, fans will have to wait until June before finding out the next chapter of his career. Unsurprisingly for a player of his standard, he has many options available to him. In turn, this may tempt him into departing Spain, although the result of Barcelona’s upcoming presidential election may sway his decision.