“Barcelona is my life. They have brought me to where I am today. I could not leave. I did not want to leave. My heart stays with Barcelona.” – Lionel Andres Messi
The Shock of Messi’s Departure
Shock is probably the best word when the news hit that Lionel Messi would be leaving Barcelona. Utter disbelief and pain shortly followed. Denial and disillusion overtook everyone after that. Fans tried to rubbish the news. Others claimed it was a power move to get LA Liga to budge on their decision. But on Sunday, 8th August 2021, it became a reality that no one could fight anymore.
As Messi cried before the audience at the conference, they held for him to say his final goodbyes.
The mercurial Argentine pledged his allegiance to Barcelona, time and again, even after the most embarrassing defeats to stay with the Catalan club. But who would have thought that decision never lay with him or with Barcelona?
The Depth of the Matter
Messi himself says he offered to take a 50% pay cut. Barcelona looked like they would be able to resign their captain until La Liga showed them the reality they had miscalculated. It was never going to work. And I think for most of the fans after Messi attempted to leave last season, this moment was always going to come, if not today, tomorrow. The problem for most is in the fashion it has happened.
Who can be blamed? Well, it’s Barcelona themselves. Specifically? Joseph Bartomeu. The man single-handedly ran what was once one-half of the pride of Spain in football into the ground and left as it was free-falling into decadence.
Not even the optimistic Laporta was going to arrest this caricature of a situation. Because the truth is simple, positivity and vibes do not fix things in football – money does.
The Reality of Messi leaving for Good
If you’ve been online, you’ve read on many reasons why he’s leaving or why Barcelona couldn’t get the deal over the line. That’s really for your consumption. The analytics and stats of the whole matter won’t ease it on any fan.
He’s leaving, and there’s nothing you can do about it. If Ronaldo and Real Madrid was a bitter divorce, then Messi and Barcelona was an unexpected breakup when we thought the relationship was finally getting better after many chaotic years.
For all that’s worth, the years Messi gave to Barcelona won’t easily be forgotten for ages to come. He was truly loyal to a fault.
Do you know what would be weird? When the UCL fixtures come out, and PSG have to go up against Barcelona. If you thought seeing him leave broke your heart, imagine him playing against you.