Without a doubt, Lionel Messi is one of the best players Barcelona has ever seen. He’s certainly had a fantastic career with the club, but rumors abound as to his continued loyalty. New information, interviews, and snippets keep being published, and fans around the world want to know the truth. Will Messi be leaving Barcelona at the end of the season? Only time will tell, but fans should know the facts surrounding this critical issue.
Legality and Likelihood of Messi Leaving
It has come to fans’ attention recently that Messi has a clause in his contract which allows him to leave FC Barcelona at will. Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that—he has to wait until the end of a season, though technically it could be any season. This clause isn’t unique to Messi, however. It’s been held by other highly esteemed players like Carles Puyol and Andres Iniesta.
Barcelona wants to grant these players the right to leave without losing out on profits because, as president Bartomeu has said, they deserve the liberty. Ever since this became public knowledge, rumors have started to circulate. Though indeed, Messi could legally leave at the end of any season, whether or not he actually will say goodbye to Barcelona is a different story.
Messi, and arguably any player who generates the amount of profits he does, is playing a high-stakes poker game with his career. It only stands to reason that Messi won’t leave on a whim, especially not in his particular situation—he’s played with Barca forever, and he has a real and deep loyalty to the club. This is one game of Texas Hold ‘em he doesn’t want to lose, especially considering his closeness to the club.
As far as rumors go, Bartomeu has done everything in his power to dispel them, insisting that Messi will be welcome in Barcelona even beyond his 20/21 contract. At the age of 32 and doubtlessly one of the best players the world has ever seen, Messi could theoretically be more than welcome elsewhere—but it’s not likely he’ll be departing at the end of this particular season. Messi values achievement and reaching his own goals above all else, and Barcelona still offers ample opportunity in those regards.
However, the future of his career does depend on Barcelona’s performance as a whole and how the team develops in the future. Where exactly he’s headed and if he will stay with Barca forever remains to be seen.
What Messi Has Brought to the Table
Messi most likely won’t leave Barcelona because there are still significant opportunities available to him there, and the truth is that Barcelona can’t afford to lose him either. Messi has brought a whole slew of benefits as can be seen in his impressive match history, and he continues to be one of the best-loved players the club has ever seen.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has already broken several records, and he didn’t let up in the past year. Managing to score 20 league goals faster than any European player and coming out as the first player to score 400 LaLiga goals (not to mention his 600 Barcelona goals), Messi is truly on fire. So, how does he do it? His skills are so honed in part because he trains like a footballer and concentrates like a master of poker.
Of course, any professional sportsman needs to train his body, but the real heroes of football also train their minds. It’s much akin to the world of poker, wherein professional players increase mental endurance and dexterity through the study of poker psychology and cognitive training techniques related to playing style and practice.
Much like the poker player in this analogy, Messi doesn’t skimp on proper preparation. He trains hard for hours on the daily, including traditional and innovative techniques as well as stretching and yoga for relaxation and de-stressing. He also follows a strict diet, aligning every facet of his life with his ultimate goals as a footballer. Much like the professional poker champion, he’s committing his entire existence to his craft.
The amount of work he has done, the commitment he has to the game, and everything he has achieved so far in his career make him stand out above any other player on the team. Taking into account all of these factors, it’s clear that Barcelona would need time and major talent to recover from the blow of Messi leaving.
Stay or Go: Which is Better for Messi?
But what about Messi himself? Will branching out help him as a player or injure his career? He’s not exactly holding his cards close to his chest in regards to this—Messi himself has made it clear that he does not plan on leaving and that he aims to make Barca the European champions this year.
However, Messi is probably one of the most competitive players out there. He wants to be the best player on the team, but if the team isn’t winning, he’ll jump ship. He’s said as much. While he’s loyal to Barcelona, Messi must be more faithful to the win. He wouldn’t have gotten where he is if that wasn’t so.
In light of Barcelona’s recent lackluster performance with Levante and a 0-0 tie with Slavia Prague, Messi might have some thinking to do. However, Barcelona is still number one in LaLiga, and nothing is written in stone just yet. Simply because it’s public knowledge now that a clause in his contract allows him to leave, this doesn’t mean that he will do so without careful consideration.
As of right now, Messi will likely stay with his current club. It obviously isn’t for legal reasons.