One of the most topsy-turvy episodes in Barcelona history has reached a definitive conclusion as Lionel Messi announces he is to stay with the La Liga giants, but there has been a mixed reaction to the Argentine ace’s decision.
Messi’s record-breaking stay in Catalonia will extend for at least one more season it was confirmed on Friday as the Barcelona captain – and arguably the greatest player in their history – announced on Friday evening that he had withdrawn his request to leave the club.
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However, if Barcelona fans were looking for Messi to make some sort of reaffirmed commitment to the club he has represented for 20 years, he stopped short of that in an interview – saying that the club’s president Josep Bartomeu went back on his word to allow him to leave at the end of last season.
So, with the forthcoming season now looking to be little more than a farewell tour before he considers to leave the club on a free transfer, as guaranteed in his contract, next season, football fans have had mixed feelings at the conclusion to one of the summer’s most seismic transfer sagas.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 4, 2020
He has absolutely brutalised the club in that interview.
— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) September 4, 2020
Messi: “I’ve been telling the president & the club that I want to leave all year long.”
— barcacentre (@barcacentre) September 4, 2020
Some fans, though, are predictably relieved that the club’s talisman will remain at the Camp Nou for the upcoming season, even if it appears to be little more than a stay of execution for a story which appears certain to raise its head after the completion of the 2020/21 season.
MESSI IS STAYING IN BARÇA THANK GOD.
— Ra Ra Svechnikov | BLM (@SSSvech) September 4, 2020
😂 You had to be some kind of naive fool to think Messi was ever doing anything other than staying at barca
— Kev Smith (@kev_ncfc) September 4, 2020
Enjoy Messi for the last cause he leaving at the end of the season. Just hope he goes out with a bang!
— Jelanie 👨🏾🚀 (@_iHustle365) September 4, 2020
Other fans appear to more concerned as to what this means for the future of Barcelona, after Messi slammed the club as having “no project” and accused them of rudderless displays in last season’s Champions League as part of his wider disillusionment at how one of the world’s biggest sporting franchises is being run.
Barcelona president Josep Bartomeu is scheduled to up for re-election early next year but his campaigning for the role will have suffered a grave blow following Messi’s savaging of him in the interview in which he confirmed his stay.
This part is brutal. “And the truth is that there has been no project or anything for a long time, they juggle and cover holes as things go by.” Messi destroying Bartomeu
— Andy West (@andywest01) September 4, 2020
The best news for Barcelona coming from all of this is that there is no chance in the world that Bartomeu and his board wins the next election.
— Alexandra Jonson (@AlexandraJonson) September 4, 2020
If at all anything, there should be increased pressure to now get Bartomeu out, if he doesn’t resign. Even waiting until the election might be a stretch. But I can see people making ludicrous case for how he “convinced” Messi to stay…
— Ashwin (@ashwin3_) September 4, 2020
So, ultimately Barcelona fans – as well as Bartomeu – got what they wanted. Lionel Messi is staying. But the president will likely soon see exactly the cost of his public staring contest with the world’s best player.
Sure, Lionel Messi blinked first, but one suspects that the shockwaves of this earth-shaking drama at the Camp Nou will be felt for some time yet.
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