Undrafted – The Network

It’s Getting Messi In Barcelona

What on earth is going on in the world of football right now. I can’t cope. It’s getting Messi in Barcelona!!!!!!

After two decades in Barcelona, Lionel Messi has officially told Barcelona he wants to leave the club. This is what Sky Sports News had to say on the matter.

The club confirmed on Tuesday that the Argentine sent a document expressing his desire to to activate a release clause that would end his contract and allow him to leave for free this summer.

As per Sky Sports News.

There have been constant rumours circulating since the humiliating 8 – 2 Loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals. This was one of the worst defeats in the player’s career and in the club’s history. The defeat capped a difficult season for Barcelona – the first without a trophy since 2007-08 – and has now ignited one of their worst crises ever. The fear of losing their most prized asset.

Messi doesn’t look impressed. Image Credit – BBC

My generation have been absolutely blessed to watch Ronaldo and Messi down the years. The only difference being that Ronaldo has worked his way across Europes major leagues. Where as, Messi has always been a one team man, having always played in the famous red and blue Barcelona colours. For this very reason it’s hard to envisage him playing anywhere else.

I must say we did call this on our “what’s app” group.

When I watched Messi in the game against Bayern you could just tell from his approach and body language he had completely switched off. It was frustrating watching him because I know just how good he can be. This isn’t the Messi we want to be watching especially as its coming to the twilight end of his career.

Complicated Release Clause

Back in 2017 Messi penned a new four year deal with Barcelona. The deal expires in 2021. After researching the so called terms and conditions of this contract I can’t help but think it was designed by Messi to keep Barcelona on strings.

Image Credit – TheHindu.com

Let me try to explain. Messi has a release clause of €700 million but within his contract is a clause that says he can leave for free at the end of every season should he decide he wants to. It sounds like Messi has to activate this clause 10 days after the Champions League final which would have been the start of June had all things been as usual.

However, Corona Virus has thrown a spanner in the works. Messi will say the season has finished late so under the contract conditions as the season has just finished, I can still leave for free. Whereas, Barcelona will say this is an exceptional circumstance because the season got extended due to Covid 19. Therefore, they’ll still refer to the season ending when it would have ended before which would have been in May. So they’ll say that’s the when the clause expires, so the €700 million release clause becomes active.

If Barcelona stand firm on the hefty release clause, who can afford him? We’ll no one with financial FairPlay…… If that is actually a thing anymore. Possibly the only teams that could afford this deal would be Man City or PSG. They have the financial backing but would still have to sell some of their assets to comply with financial FairPlay.

To me this just says it’s about to get very Messi. No one wants to see this stand off between player and club. Especially when you think of all them special special moments they’ve shared together over the past 2 decades.

Getting to the bottom of this Messi Madness

Has Messi taken this decision for “footballing reasons” or is he using it as a strategy to make a stand against the Barcelona Board?

I did entertain the view that maybe he does want to move on from Barcelona and play for another European Heavyweight for”Footballing Reasons”. Where his chances of adding to his trophy cabinet are all but guaranteed.

But this just doesn’t comprehend. Lionel Messi is 33 now. He’s not in his prime anymore. He runs the risk of potentially tarnishing what has been a truly amazing career. Imagine he makes the switch to play under Pep Guardiola at Man City. How is he going to adapt to the physicality and demand of the Premier League? Not convinced!

I’m not saying that this situation results in Messi continuing his stay at Barcelona because football can change in a heartbeat. I do get the feeling though when he made the decision to hand in an official transfer request for the first time in his career, there was an alternative motive at hand. With the worst case being that he would have to break his one man club tag and join one of Barcelona’s European rivals.

Will Messi join Pep at City? Image Credit – givemesport.com

Messi has made it very public his dissatisfaction with the board headed by Josep Bartomeu. Could this be his strategy to force him and the current board out by causing unrest at the club and forcing forward the presidential elections that were mean’t to be taking place next April.

Messi knows he has the backing of the Barcelona faithful and that is evident last night with people gathering near Camp Nou and the club’s offices to protest against the board and Leo Messi’s exit. The fans clearly have no attachment to the board. They just want to ensure they don’t lose their talisman and greatest ever player. If you’re going to watch Barcelona you’re going because you want to watch Messi. This is such a massive example of why player power cannot be underestimated here. I’ve seen it too many times at Chelsea down the years.

The final nail in the coffin for Messi’s relationship with the board was their appointment of Ronald Koeman. I can fully understand this and why Messi would be concerned about the direction the team was facing. We can’t forget Koeman’s time at Everton and the piss poor job he did there. They had absolutely no footballing identity, even after he was heavily backed in the transfer market. He was sacked at Everton when they were in the relegation zone with their worst tally after nine games of a Premier League season since 2005-06 (4).

Another part of dispute with Ronald Koeman’s appointment, is the fact he’s walked into the job and told Messi’s best mate Luis Suarez he’s no longer wanted. Luis Suarez is now on the verge of leaving Barcelona with the club set to rescind his contract. Suarez joined Barca in 2014, and has been arguably the best striker in the world since then, scoring 198 goals in 283 games for the club in all comps. Not a bad return for a striker deemed surplus to requirements. Usually player axes are not decisions made without consulting Messi, who feels as though his power at the club is dwindling.

Presidential Elections

One of the leading contenders to takeover from Josep Bartomeu is Victor Font. Victor Font dreams of a team made up mainly by La Masia. In short, this means he wants players that play in the image of club legend Johan Cruyff.

Victor Font believes that Lionel Messi prioritizes a sporting project over his contract. Also, that the club should have closed a new contract deal with him much earlier. 

“For Messi, the sports project is more important than his contract. Leo will be free to negotiate with any club and, therefore, an agreement between Barça and the player should have been finalized before.”.

“I don’t had the pleasure of meeting Messi, yet. But we hope to explain our project to him soon.”

The ink is barely dry on the contract Ronald Koeman signed last week. If Messi was to force forward the presidential elections and Font was to win, then there is the idea that Xavi Hernandez would replace Koeman almost immediately to satisfy Messi and rally the fans.

It’s going to be very interesting to see how this all plays out and how the board look to resolve this Messi bombshell. No Barcelona Board is going to want to be remembered for letting the 6 time Ballon d’or winner go. It would almost become an unmanageable series of events if this was to happen and the unrest within the club would be never ending.

Needless to say, this would be a very painful and terribly sad occasion in Catalonia. Is he really going to do it? 

I can only see Messi staying. Obviously only time will tell but the fans will be praying the same. Player power always wins. Bumper contract and possible presidential election incoming. I’ve called it.

Let us know over on instagram your views on this situation.

Check out our other football related posts here.

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1 comment

An Interview With... Mark Bright - Undrafted - The Network legend 26th February 2021 at 6:00 pm

[…] did it, TV companies employ lip readers now to try and see what the players say. I once saw the Barca players in the dug out take the mickey out of Rafa Benitez because he had a waistcoat on and the […]


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