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The rise and fall of Barcelona and Lionel Messi

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(© EdNurg – stock.adobe.com)

Everyone knows about Lionel Messi. He is the legend of modern football, an ode to the young player that was adopted by Barcelona omitting a football love story that we all envy. There was never a time when anyone felt that Lionel Messi would leave Barcelona, his home club, his security, well…until a pay cut was on the cards. The love between Barca and Messi was still there, but the money was not. With the team struggling to pay their debtors, it was hard to pay the player the 71 Million Euros that the club always entertained. Bookmakers operating online were going crazy with the Messi saga.  Will he stay or will he go, that was the question.

Messi decided a move was imminent, and that is when PSG made their move. Just like an alpha wolf hunting their prey, Paris Saint-Germain went all in, and just like that acquired the talented player.  The captain of the Argentina football team was not a Barca pillar anymore, and now dons the PSG top with pride. Was this a good move for Barcelona FC?

Barcelona is deemed as one of the most celebrated teams in the world. With a humble strategy in the club, the UNICEF logo is displayed proudly, Barcelona is one of the few football clubs that has a President running the show, a figurehead that is elected by its humble members. With players like Lionel Messi, Xavi, Coutinho, Depay and Andres Iniesta on their roster, they were unbeatable. Barcelona FC set the pace in football, they were the club that every European club wanted to beat. Donning a logo of “Més que un club” (More than a club) Barca was more a home for new and established players, and they believed in their younger talent as much as Sir Alex Ferguson did at Old Trafford. This was Messi’s story. A humble Argentine youngster that found refuge in the club.

Yet, everything comes to an end, or to a full circle, depending how you look at things. Following a very public and media infused saga, Messi leaves Barcelona, the club that he has called home since the age of 13. Of course the Super League debacle did not help Barca’s reputation at all. The once celebrated club was being slammed in the media, online and also by its supporters.  It was a money decision, and the supporters just did not like it. Do you blame them? Not one bit!  With the pandemic, Barcelona could not continue to sustain the hefty wages that players like Messi enjoyed, and the media danced on the idea of Barca being in financial trouble. A bad year for Barcelona, as they admitted, their players would need to take a pay cut to stay at the club. Did they do that? Did Messi agree? Let’s face it, Lionel Messi only has a couple of years left in his tenure, he will want to make as much money as he can. And this is what drove Messi to leave. Money talks, and Messi walks.

The Super League was possibly one of the biggest mishaps that Barcelona undertook. It was just a wrong move that drove the Club’s legacy to the ground. The club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu resigned in 2020 following a major media scandal. He was to blame for driving the most celebrated football team and club to the ground. He was blamed for the dire financial situation that Barcelona found themselves in. And he was also blamed for the behind the curtain dealings of the Super League. Following this, the club started relying on Messi more, he was deemed and elected as the Messiah, the chosen one that would ultimately save the club from ruin. But could Messi do that?  Would the biggest player of all time take a pay cut to stay at the doomed club that had harvested his talent? After all, this was the player that earned a whopping 555 Million Euros in a span of 5 years.

New betting sites online were taking bets where Messi would go, yet everyone did know, the hunger for money was there, and Messi would leave his beloved home club. Players like Xavi and Iniesta retired and Barcelona saw a little light at the end of the tunnel, hoping to keep the powerhouse that Messi is. They failed. The once king of Barcelona that had a say over anyone that walked into the Camp Nou, the player that had the last say over all coaches and technical staff was leaving. But when the coronavirus pandemic hit, Barcelona was done, just like many other businesses across the globe.

The football club that bore stars was dead. The team that was once the envy of all was dead, is dead. Players leaving Barcelona was imminent and here we are today, awaiting Lionel’s Messi’s debut at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). Will this be the end of Barcelona’s tenure? Will this be the beginning of the end for Lionel Messi and his football career? Truth be told, Messi is a player that could be snatched by anyone…Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and more…everyone was bidding for Messi. But will Barcelona give a comeback to all its football fans? Well, that is something that we will need to see in the coming days, months, years.

One thing is certain, Lionel Messi will never be a Barcelona player again. An end of an era.

Story by Lisandro Coluzzi