Barcelona announced on Thursday evening that Lionel Messi will be leaving the club.
It said the Spanish LaLiga regulations on player registration had made it impossible for Messi to stay despite reaching an agreement for him to sign a new contract on Thursday.
- Messi finally leaves Barcelona
- Messi ends trophy drought as Argentina beat Brazil to win Copa America
“As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled.
“FC Barcelona wholeheartedly expresses its gratitude to the player for his contribution to the aggrandisement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life,” the club said in a statement it released on its website.
Having played for the club for 21 years, the news of Messi’s availability has excited many big clubs in Europe who have been eyeing a move for the superstar over the years.
Daily Trust has listed the five likely destinations this summer for the 2021 COPA America winner.
Lionel Messi has opened negotiations with Paris Saint-Germain, hours after it was confirmed he was leaving Barcelona.
According to Sky Italia, talks between Messi and PSG are expected to rapidly intensify.
With Neymar and Kylian Mbappe already at the club, Messi joining the duo would make their attack the most fearsome in the world.
The Argentina captain is excited by the idea of playing with Neymar again.
Messi and Neymar played together at Barcelona for four seasons and won the LaLiga title twice and the Champions League once.
PSG is the biggest club in France and one of the top European giants who are capable of winning the Champions Leagues.
The club have done some exciting business this summer, bringing in Sergio Ramos from Real Madrid, the best goalkeeper at the 2020 European championship, Gianluigi Donnarumma from AC Milan, Achraf Hakimi from Inter Milan and the Dutch captain, Georginio Wijnaldum from Liverpool.
This is certainly the place Messi should be.
Could a fairytale reunion between Messi and Pep Guardiola be back on the cards? Manchester City have previously been linked with Messi, but have since completed a deal for Jack Grealish, to add further to their firepower.
Manchester City reportedly was prepared to offer Messi a $600 million contract last summer to reunite him with his former manager Pep Guardiola.
Many oddsmakers list Manchester City as the favourite to land Messi now, but as of now, it is “not in their plans,” at least according to Times Sport.
However, the Citizens are on the hunt for a striker, and Messi’s abilities, combined with Guardiola’s frequent use of a formation featuring a false-9, could just make a deal viable.
Of course, this then raises the question; where would Harry Kane’s future lie?
One could only imagine the prospect of Messi and Kane lining up together.
Another club currently with so much cash to splash is Chelsea. The west London outfit do not need Lionel Messi per se, but when the option of some of the world’s best talent presents itself, Chelsea have a history of taking action.
Thiago Silva joined on a free transfer last summer, and Messi could well be the next man through the door.
The potential arrival of Romelu Lukaku could make the signing more difficult, but would Roman Abramovich be able to turn down the opportunity to see the best player in the world at Stamford Bridge? This is a question with one most certain answer.
Chelsea could get involved in the scramble for his signature. The club have shown how ambitious it is with the signing of Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner last season which helped them to lift the Champions League trophy.
They would certainly want to fight for the signature of any superstar available in the market to consolidate their position as a force to be reckoned with in Europe.
Many people would be surprised that Inter Milan are being mentioned as a likely destination for Messi but the Serie A Champions are building a strong team to compete favourably in Europe in the new season, building on the gains of last season.
They are on the verge of selling their goal machine, Romelu Lukau, to Chelsea while also open to offers for Lautaro Martinez. This will no doubt open a space for the Argentine superstar in the attacking department.
This will not be the first time Inter would go for Messi. In 2006, Lionel Messi signed a pre-contract agreement to join the Italian outfit, according to the then club advisor, Luisito Suarez.
“We could have got him when Barcelona had Deco, Ronaldinho, and [Samuel] Eto’o up front.”
“I still have the pre-contractual agreement that he signed.”
In 2017, they made efforts to sign him as well before eyeing him last summer as well.
Last year, when he handed in a transfer request and it looked like he may leave the Nou Camp, Inter were one of the clubs keen on the Argentine.
Speaking in August, former Inter director Massimiliano Mirabelli told Radio Sportiva: “When I was at Inter, President Zhang would talk about the transfer market and say, ‘I want Messi,’ but we had to explain it wasn’t possible due to Financial Fair Play.
“I can assure you that Messi is more than a dream for Inter.”
Messi to Bayern Munich is an exciting prospect. Though this is highly unlikely given the Bayern Munich’s approach to recruitment. Hoever, Messi may still end up with the German champions.
Mario Kempes, according to Goal.com, considers his fellow Argentine to be “torn” when it comes to his future at Barcelona, with the six-time Ballon d’Or winner being urged to consider moves to Bayern Munich.
Kempes, a 1978 World Cup winner who took in two spells with Valencia in his playing days, has told Sport Bild: “Messi is torn.
“He would have to go to Pep Guardiola [at Manchester City], Paris Saint-Germain or FC Bayern.
“These clubs either have the money or the players for great success.”
With some three weeks left before the transfer window is shut, we can only wait to see where the Argentine ‘wizard’ finally ends up.