Lionel Messi is, was, and (probably) will be the most defining player in the history of Barcelona. He may have already eclipsed Cruyff, depending on how long your memory span is. Messi, like Cruyff before him, could not be a more emblematic presence at the Nou Camp if he were from Catalonia. The Argentinian maestro, like the Dutch savant before him, is the face and the living embodiment of an idea, a culture, a certain snobbery that Barcelona fans cozy up to, because they can, because they play the beautiful game in its most beautiful form, and they can do that because they have Lionel Messi.
Many have argued, with merit, that the diminutive winger turned center forward would not be quite so highly rated if the likes of world beaters Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez weren’t running the show. International silverware aside, Iniesta and co. will go down with the likes of Paul Scholes and Luis Figo. That doesn’t exactly make things more difficult for Leo, and that marriage, like the life long love affair with the Catalan giants has never seemed the least bit rocky. Even with the dual coup signings of Luis Suarez and Neymar, questions were never asked, eyebrows were not raised. Lionel Messi will be at Barcelona forever, right?
Well the unthinkable, almost nuclear option seems to be on the table. There have been whispers. Apparently, Messi will not be partnering with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Paris. Beyond that, there are quite a few questions, and answers may be trickling in.
United are monitoring. Bayern certainly must be as well. Arsenal apparently are
Messi may very well be squaring off with his future teammates in February. He mocked the FIFA skills of fellow countryman and premier league assassin Sergio Aguero as recently as last week.
But we’ve heard this before. City was going to sign Ronaldinho. Remember? City threw the bank and a half at Kaka. Do two premier league trophies make the bleak rain of Manchester any more appealing? Should Messi’s departure come to pass, apparently so.
But there may be one more cog in the machine that could reroute the man many are calling the best ever should it come to pass. The curious case of Chelsea owner Roman Abromavich, his fat wallet, and a better chance for more champions league glory. Well that could sway a man.
Update: Messi’s father has reportedly reached out to Chelsea regarding his son’s dissatisfaction at Barcelona. Cesc Fabregas’ girlfriend Daniella Semann is also incredibly close with Messi’s beau, Antonella Roccuzzo, (pictured below):
However, Real Madrid and Manchester United are believed to be the only two potential suitors who could manage the deal under current FFP regulations.
Any sane man would say the safest bet is Messi stays put, or at the very least takes every meaningful kick in Barcelona’s red and blue, as he has since he was 11-years-old. But if he were to leave, and it looks increasingly likely, it would shake things up across the footballing globe a wee bit.