Lionel Messi is leaving Barcelona. This was the bombshell news emerging from Spain last night.
Barcelona announced on their official website Messi will not be staying, as despite an intention on the part of player and club, La Liga cannot sanction the contract renewal due to the club’s poor finances.
It is a logical conclusion to draw that this may all get ironed out. There would be no surprise if Barcelona, Messi, and La Liga are able to work this out in the days and weeks ahead.
But if not, then this is the end of an era. Barcelona and Lionel Messi looked set to dominate Europe for a decade after beating Manchester United at Wembley in 2011. It just didn’t happen.
Barcelona won only one Champions League in the next 10 years, with numerous baffling financial decisions contributing to their failure on the pitch.
Over the next few days there will be plenty of speculation over where Messi may head to next. Expect Manchester United’s name to be thrown into the mix.
Let’s stay away from all that. Until there are some really top sources vouching for a United move for Messi, it is not worth getting into.
Instead we have a look a three Manchester players who idolise Lionel Messi and have spoken on record about their admiration for the Argentine great.
Messi has fans at United
France international Paul Pogba is an admirer of Messi. Speaking to Sport in 2019 ahead of the Champions League ties against Barcelona he spoke of how much he enjoys watching him.
Pogba said: “It is very nice to see him play because it always involves learning. They (Barcelona) has very great players and, above all, an extraordinary one (Messi) who is far above the rest.”
Teenage wonderkid Mason Greenwood caused a little controversy this month when he said he rates Messi above former United star Cristiano Ronaldo.
Greenwood told the club website “For me, it’s always got to be Messi. For me, he’s just on another planet. Ronaldo is obviously amazing, a physical, great athletic footballer. But to do what Messi does at his size, what he’s done for Barcelona and winning that trophy for Argentina, he is just on another level.”
The last word can go to Scott McTominay, who had to get teammate Sergio Romero to secure Messi’s shirt for him after the 2019 clash at Old Trafford.
Messi was left with a cut on his nose after a challenge from Chris Smalling, but McTominay told the club website that Messi thought it was him.
McTominay got the shirt in the end, and he had a place in mind to hang it beforehand. The United star explained: “I said to Sergio Romero, ‘please can you ask Messi to get his shirt?’.
“Sergio comes back in and said, ‘Oh, he thinks you were the one who elbowed him on the halfway line’. I said, ‘No, no, no, no – tell him it wasn’t me, so make sure I get that shirt because that’s going in my bedroom’. So he knows it wasn’t me now.”
Messi’s future is in question and this could be the end of an era. The whole world is watching and Manchester United’s stars will be paying attention to what happens next.
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