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a year after Messi’s departure, Barca still haven’t turned the page

This August 5 celebrates the first “anniversary” of the departure of Lionel Messi from FC Barcelona, ​​​​in a pithy press release which put an end to any hope of an extension of the Pulga in Catalonia. A year later, Barça is still thinking of his return, he who is under contract with PSG until June 2023.

It was a year ago. It was 7:33 p.m. on Thursday, August 5, 2021, when FC Barcelona released a statement titled ‘Leo Messi will not remain linked to FC Barcelona’. 21 years after his arrival in Barcelona and seventeen years after his official debut in the Blaugrana jersey, the paths of the Argentinian Leo Messi and Barça then suddenly separated.

A separation despite an extension agreement

The day before, however, the Spanish media were unanimous: everything was in place for La Pulga to extend his contract and remain linked to the club he had joined, from his hometown of Rosario, at the age of 13. The two parties had reached an agreement after the arrival of Joan Laporta as president of FC Barcelona, ​​​​who had made the extension of Lionel Messi a campaign argument, a year after the burofax affair.

At the beginning of August, a five-year agreement was announced, with the idea that he would be a player for the first two years and defer the payment of his salary to enter the nails of the salary-cap set by La Liga. But that was without counting on the financial peril then experienced by the club, which discovered the debts left by the previous management. On August 5, therefore, the decision was taken to record the departure of Messi “despite an agreement (…) which cannot be formalized due to economic and structural obstacles in the Spanish LaLiga”.

“I did everything I could to stay”

This note ended his time in Catalonia, marked by his countless records (672 goals and six Ballons d’Or) and the 35 titles he won in the Blaugrana jersey (ten La Liga, seven King’s Cups, eight European Super Cups). Spain, four Champions Leagues, three European Super Cups and three Club World Cups). The Argentinian striker arrived as a child and left aged 34, the father of three sons (Thiago, Mateo and Ciro) born and raised in Barcelona.

Three days after this earthquake, Lionel Messi appeared at the Auditori 1899 at Camp Nou to bid farewell, in tears. The Argentinian had given his version of the facts there and had launched some reproaches to Joan Laporta. “I don’t know if the club did it, but it’s clear to me that I did everything I could to stay. Everything was arranged. I reduced my salary by 50%. The rest is a lie. And after that, no one asked me anything else,” he said in shock.

In tears, and after an icy greeting with the president, Leo Messi confessed that his farewell to the club of his life, he would “never have imagined it like that”. “I would have liked to do it with the people, on the pitch, with a final ovation,” he added.

A complicated relationship between Messi and Laporta, who wants his return

The following August 10, PSG announced the arrival of Lionel Messi until 2023. Since then, the Argentinian and its former president have exchanged a few words via the media. The most striking being when Laporta said last October that he had ‘hoped for Leo to say at the last minute that he would play for free’. The latter having replied in November that “nothing was ever asked of me” while reiterating that he would like to return to Barça one day “whatever the cost”.

A few days ago, during Barça’s American tour, Laporta told ESPN that he had “a moral debt” with Messi and that he wished for him “an end to his career with the Barça shirt, applauded on all the land”. A wish he has since repeated, speaking of Messi’s return to Camp Nou as “something I aspire to and feel responsible for”. “I think we will make this ambition a reality, it is our intention,” insisted the club president.

“I think he deserves a second chance”

A speech approved by the coach and friend of Lionel Messi, Xavi. In a press conference before the match against the New York Red Bulls he said in particular: “I wish Messi’s time at Barça had not ended. I think he deserves a second chance. I wish so. If the question is would I like him to come back? The answer is yes.”

The former number 10 of Barça is under contract with PSG until June 2023 and the Parisian club wishes to extend it according to our information. However in Catalonia, we are assured that his free arrival next summer is more than a hypothesis and that the Blaugrana leaders are already working for his return. Leo Messi is expected to make a decision after the World Cup.


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