The sporting world is still in frenzy after news broke yesterday that Lionel Messi, the Argentine legend of FC Barcelona of Spain, has asked, through a fax to the club’s Management, that he intends to immediately exercise a clause in his contract which empowers him to leave on a free if he intends to. Messi, who edged John Obi Mikel to the best player at the 2005 Under-21 World Cup, has won the UEFA Champions League four times for Barcelona; plenty honours and trophies, including six Balon d’Or titles, becoming arguably the best and most prolific football player in world’s history. The club had endured a relatively mediocre season under the immediate past coach, losing the La Liga title to bitter rivals in rather scandalous manner, and the crescendo of their pain became the 2 – 8 loss to FC Bayern Munich of Germany, in the Semi Final of the just concluded UEFA Champions League. However, Barcelona are hoping to convince him to change his mind.
“What’s happened has happened and our idea is to build a team around the most important player in the world. We want to build another winning cycle led by the best player in the world, the best in history.” Ramon Planes, Barcelona’s Sporting Director, said. He added, “Barca and Leo are like a marriage, where both have given so much to each other, and have brought so much joy to the fans. I think the future is positive. I am an optimist.”
President Josep Maria Bartomeu has come under heavy pressure from the fans, who since last night had called for his resignation. It is alleged that Bartomeu’s politicking around the team has not helped the fortune of the club. There has been an occasion where Messi expressed his reservations about certain appointments that did not seem beneficial to the team, early in the just concluded season.
The club’s Management however, are claiming that the clause in question, has expired, but still, a few of the Management are rumoured to have believed that only the resignation of Bartomeu could salvage any chance of the club convincing him to stay.
Without the clause in contention, Messi’s contract has a €700m buy-out clause, for any club willing to have his services.
Lionel Messi, 33 years old, has scored a whopping 634 goals for FC Barcelona, an unprecedented number. He has been at the club since his boyhood in 2004. He has never played for any other football club. Messi should be regarded as the greatest football player going by his statistics, however, success with the national team has been less than expected, compared to what his only rival, Real Madrid’s legend who now ply his trade at Italian Juventus FC, Cristiano Ronaldo, has earned with his national team of Portugal, or the national team successes of Diego Maradona.
Rumours are already making rounds that Messi could be joining his former coach, Josep Guardiola, at Manchester City Football Club. But Pep says that he is a Barcelona player, and his wish is to see him remain so.
In the same vein, PSG has commented that it is impossible for them to sign Lionel Messi this summer.
Fans are however, besieging the offices and structures of the club, chanting Messi’s name and asking president of the club, Bartomeu, to leave.
Director Planes pleaded that the Management wishes to make discussions private, and says that Leo will also wish the same.
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