On Tuesday FC Barcelona reveals that Lionel Messi told the club that he is planning to exit the off-season.
A million questions came up, but a major one stood over it all: Where will he go?
There are not many clubs around the world with the mix of international football, ambitions in the Champions League and limitless cash to put Messi here.
There, too, there are so many factors. When Messi is good (a major one if, as we are discussing here), then it will probably save a team a huge transfer fee and make Messi more likely to be signed.
When they can’t, then, all of the capital is needed.
Let’s first look at the teams who might sign Messi in principle but won’t try.
Manchester United has the financial capital, of course, so I don’t see anything going on. The squad is now gathering around a magnificent new, offensive group of Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, who need urgently support in safety.
Juventus is what is going to happen in the games, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi actually winning over both of them, but even the salaries of all of them will make it practically impossible for each other to pay and I see that.
Bayern Munich has the money, so they’re not using it. What they do is pressure smaller teams in Germany and do less for their best talent. Paying Messi a hundred thousand dollars a year is not enough.
Madrid Real? No. No. He wouldn’t. He wouldn’t. Violence in Spain will break out. It can not happen. That can not happen. This relies on regional harmony, Lionel. Don’t be stupid. Don’t be crazy.
Let us then find practical destinations, ordered by their probability.
1. Barcelona FC
I’ve always got this as my pick. It’s also conceivable for Messi to learn his disappointment if the president of the team treated it, and whether the team originally criticized players for not accepting salary reductions at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the current manager … with all this.
If the board members of Barcelona haven’t been listening to him before, now they are listening to him. Maybe all this is a very public way to protest and make improvements he wishes to introduce. Unless the changes are made, he can live.
2. Town of Manchester
This one makes the most sense for me of all the non-Barcelona choices. Manchester City has a more seasoned attack line, but there’s a space for Messi, with David Silva leaving. You have more money than Jesus, and you can pay him.
So if he wants to end his career in the USA, ESPNFC has now announced that City will bid in a few years to move him to NYCFC, make him the global representative of the City Football Group, so giving him, as you know, All Of The Money.
3. Milan Inter
Inter has the financial means in principle to do so, and this trademark will be a long way to cement its ambitions for the Champions League and re-create the rivalry between Messi-Ronaldo and Italy.
It will happen, I doubt, but who knows.
A Messi-Neymar-Mbappe Front 3 is some real last team stuff from FIFA, so it makes sense if Messi decides to play for Champions League trophies instantly. No idea how the economics operate or whether PSG might bring Angel di Maria back into a exchange, but that would be feasible in principle.
5. Newell’s Old Boys
I don’t think it would, but if Messi’s boyhood club agreed to take him home and subsequently give him a share of ownership? I say, crazier things happened?