Lionel Messi tells Barcelona he wants to leave
Barcelona legend Lionel Messi has told the club that he wants to leave after nearly two decades with the Spanish giants. The Argentine wants Barca to terminate his contract. According to The Associate Press, Barcelona confirmed that Messi sent a document expressing his desire to leave. Here are further details on Messi and his decision to leave Barca.
Barca endured a difficult 2019-20 campaign
Messi's announcement comes 11 days after Barcelona's humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League quarters. It was one of the worst defeats in Messi's glittering career and in the club's history. The defeat capped a difficult season for Barcelona, who failed to win a single trophy since 2007-08. They had also seen Real Madrid win La Liga.
Issues had crept in since the start of the season
Earlier in the 2019-20 season, Messi & Co. were blamed by Eric Abidal for the departure of manager Ernesto Valverde, following the loss to Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup. Messi denied that he had anything to do with the decision starting a war of words with the director of football, Abidal, who was also his former team-mate.
Messi called Barcelona a 'weak' team after La Liga heartbreak
As La Liga 2019-20 season concluded, Messi highlighted the club's inconsistent run. "We didn't expect to finish in this way, but it sums up the year for us. We are a weak team who can be beaten with enough intensity and enthusiasm," Messi said to reporters. "We have lost a lot of points which we shouldn't have done. We have been very inconsistent."
Barca sack Setien and Abidal, appoint Koeman as manager
Last week, Barca sacked Setien and then decided to opt a similar route towards Abidal. Abidal was appointed sporting director in June 2018. He came under fire for his handling of the dismissal of coach Valverde in January 2020. The Spanish club went on to appoint Ronald Koeman as the new manager. The Dutchman signed a two-year deal with Barcelona until 2022.
Messi wants a new lease of life elsewhere
With all the conflicts Barca endured on and off the field, it's reasonable for Messi to want out. Missing out on the Champions League since four successive seasons resulted in Messi growing dissatisfied. Messi knows he doesn't have many years left at the top level and wants to have one last shot at a club where he can win trophies.
Messi won everything at Barcelona
Messi has pocketed a record six Ballon d'Or awards during his time at Barcelona. He played a significant role to help the club win 10 Spanish league titles and four Champions League crowns. Overall, Messi has won 33 trophies at Barca to help the club reach atop. In 731 games across competitions, Messi has scored a record 634 goals for Barcelona.
Man City are in pole position to sign Messi: Reports
As per reports, Manchester City are in pole position to sign the veteran. City are figuring out the numbers in order to land Messi. The Barca legend could be tempted to join forces with former boss Pep Guardiola at City.