The last time Lionel Messi walked through Valdebebas, dressed in the tracksuit of the Argentine national team, he was going through a situation similar to the one he will experience this Saturday when he returns as a Barça player: his future with the Albiceleste was a coin in the air. After the 2018 Russia coup, coach Lionel Scaloni convinced him to return to the team. Messi accepted. He traveled to meet the project and his new colleagues, essentially to test his motivation. The result? On the 10th he vowed to lead the new generation. In Barcelona, nobody knows what will happen to Messi’s life after June 30, when his contract expires. Joan Laporta, the new president, and his directors are optimistic – “we can only say that there is good harmony”, they assure – and from the side of the 33-year-old Argentine, the answer is the same as always: to wait to know what the team will be like, who will be the coach… ”. PSG and Manchester City are on the prowl, waiting for what could be Messi’s last classic.
When Neymar left for PSG, Messi understood. Although it bothered him to lose the teammate with whom he had better understood on the field after Xavi Hernández, he wished the best to one of his great friends in the world of football. There was something, however, that he did not understand. “If you want to be number one, the French league is not the best place. For that he should have gone to the Premier ”, commented, in the summer of 2017, the captain of Barcelona. Finalists in the Champions League last season, and winning 2-3 against Bayern in the first leg of the quarter, in the domestic competition PSG are three points behind leaders Lille. Manchester City also wants to seduce 10. In fact, last summer, faced with president Josep Maria Bartomeu, Messi knocked on the doors of the box citizen.
“First you have to know what Leo wants to do,” say sources from the English club. Last summer, City had a football and financial plan to incorporate the Rosario. Even in Manchester they were prepared to pay for a transfer to Barcelona. But there was no case. “I asked the president to help me out and he always told me no and no,” Messi told Jordi Évole. Bartomeu stuck to the 700 million clause and the 10 remained at Barça. “How many teams are there that can sign Leo?”, They question in the Barcelona Sports City; “The City and what else? I don’t think he will go to Paris after seeing what was seen the other day in the Champions League against Bayern. It was a carnage. If it hadn’t been for those football things, the game ends 10-1. PSG has a lot and has nothing. Messi can go with Pep, yes; but he can also stay in the club of his life ”.
Barcelona is committed to the charisma of Laporta and to the new generation of Pedri, Ansu, Araujo and company. “Leo is not like at the beginning of the season, now he is happy, very comfortable with the young people,” finish the same Barça sources.
Messi’s change of attitude was thanked by Ronald Koeman. “If you look at the goals, Leo appears in all the photos,” they underline in the dressing room. El 10 has 29 goals and 13 assists in the 38 games he has played this season. In 2021, the Rosario has scored 17 goals in 13 games. Barcelona has cut the distance of 10 points with respect to the leader, Atlético. On the eve of the classic, Barça rests one point from Diego Pablo Simeone’s box. Enough motivation for the Rosario, who is pursuing his league number 11, which would be one of Paco Gento’s record.
Top scorer in the history of the classics (26), Messi will equal Sergio Ramos as the player with the most appearances, 45. Marks for which Zinedine Zidane also wants Messi in Spain. “Let him stay at Barcelona. It’s good there. It’s a good thing for the League ”, asked the Madrid coach. Embraced by Laporta, also by Zidane, Messi is not in a hurry to reveal his future. PSG has to resolve the continuity of Mbappé and Neymar, who end their contract in 2022, before looking at the Rosario; Barcelona, its financial problems. The City doesn’t need money. It is already known that he will no longer have Agüero and that Guardiola confirmed that they are not looking for a 9, but Messi plays 10. Valdebebas is today again present in the future of the Argentine.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.