Now, those rumors look true and the 33-year-old could actually be house-hunting outside of Catalonia. Messi could be joining Luis Saurez (who was reportedly unceremoniously dumped via a one-minute phone call) on the free agent market.
According to Marca, Messi has already informed new manager Ronald Koeman that he does not want to return:
Messi spoke with new coach Ronald Koeman last Friday and told the Dutchman that he saw himself more out of Barcelona than in. Now, he has taken steps towards an exit that would shock the world of football if it comes to fruition.
Surely, there would be a contractual issue to hold this up? Not so fast. Messi reportedly has the contractual wherewithal to leave right now due to a termination clause in his contract. There is, however, some language that could give Barca enough to delay — but probably not prevent — Messi’s inevitable departure.
Marca’s live blog covering this circus also contained the following juicy bits, which helps explain the specifics of Messi’s contract:
19.44. The latest news is that Josep Maria Bartomeu has called his directors together for an emergency meeting to analyse the situation and to see how to tackle it.
19.34. According to TsC Sports, Barcelona believe that the unilateral clause in Messi’s contract had to be triggered by May 31, whereas Messi’s people believe it is August 31 since this is the month when the season ended.
What does all that mean? It’s likely that Messi can leave for free, but also that Barca could fight him over the official date for triggering his “out clause.”
Imagine. Getting. Leo. Messi. On. A. Free.
While most of the speculation surrounding Messi’s next move will center on clubs like Manchester City, Inter Milan, Liverpool, or Manchester United, let’s just ponder what would happen if Messi was so enamored with Hansi Flick that he wanted a move to Bayern Munich.
Could the Bavarians look to a South American player to replace Thomas Muller for the third time in four years? Muller might just declare war on the entire continent.
I kid, I kid. Anyway, here are some odds on where the (arguable) GOAT may land:
Odds for what team Lionel Messi will play for next:— Odds Shark (@OddsShark) August 25, 2020
Manchester City +200
Inter Milan +300
Bayern Munich +1200
Newell’s Old Boys +1500
AC Milan +2000
Inter Miami +2500
LA Galaxy +3300
If reading this made you a little nostalgic about Bayern Munich’s win over Barca, you can always grab a keepsake in the form of a BFW exclusive t-shirt.