Lionel Messi announces termination of contract

Bradley Piros, Courier Staff

Tuesday afternoon, long-time F.C. Barcelona player Lionel Messi broke the news that he plans to terminate his contract that runs through the summer of 2021 with the Spanish club. The news comes after a shocking 8-2 loss to F.C. Bayern in the UEFA Champions League quarter finals back on Aug. 14.

Barca was one of the favorites to win the tournament but instead came crashing out in embarrassing fashion. On top of failing at the biggest stage of them all, Messi’s club couldn’t even fend off arch rivals Real Madrid to win the La Liga. Instead, Madrid finished first with 87 points while Barcelona came in second with 82. Barca didn’t win a single trophy this season which hadn’t happened since the 2007-08 season. Typically Barcelona equals success, but that was just not the case this year. 

Take into consideration Messi’s ability to play the beautiful game for a moment. He deserves to play at a club that is consistently winning trophies, and he was for a very long time, but it seems as if Barca’s golden days are over and it’s time for Messi to say goodbye. With that being said, here are some of my own picks and the most popular rumors of where Messi will call home next season.

At the moment, the team leading the race to sign Messi is none other than Manchester City. You either love City or you hate them, but you can’t deny their success as of late and they love to spend their money on key name players. It’s a rumor that Man City is willing to offer a long-term contract where Messi can finish his playing career in the MLS (Major League Soccer) with Man City’s partner club New York City F.C. This would only happen after he played the first three seasons with the English Giants in hopes to bring home their first ever Champions League trophy. Manchester City has never made it to a Champions League final, only making it as far as the semi’s in the 2015-16 season.

I think this contract makes a lot of sense, and it’s one that not a lot of other clubs can make. It’s essentially the best of both worlds. Messi could be the missing link needed to have more European success and would fit in perfectly upfront with fellow Argentine striker Sergio Agüero. And, if all goes well in Manchester for a few years and he still wants to play, he can bring his game over to the United States and play for NYCFC. It’s an appealing deal no matter how much money City throws at him, it’s just whether or not Messi feels it’s the right move. If he is going to make the move to the English Premier League, then I think it will definitely be at City.

But, they aren’t the only club in the running to sign him. He is the greatest player of all-time after all, so there’s going to be a long list of clubs ready to welcome him in. French side Paris Saint Germain have recently stated their interest in him, but I don’t think this one makes a lot of sense. I mean, it kind of does, but I just don’t know how they’d be able to afford Messi. They already have two of the most expensive contracts in the sport with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar up front. If Messi did join the club, he’d be reunited with his old teammate Neymar as well as Angel Di Maria from the Argentina squad. If this happens it might be the greatest attacking trio of all-time and one that would definitely be fun to watch. I don’t think this one’s likely at all, but it sure would be awesome.

Another team that could be interested is Juventus over in Italy. Christiano Ronaldo has stated that he would like to leave the club to play somewhere else, so Messi could come right in and take his place. This one probably isn’t very likely either, nor do I even want to see this, but it is still a possibility. Ronaldo has interestingly enough said that he’d be interested in playing for PSG as well after leaving Juve. Both Messi and Ronaldo have said that they’d love to play together before they retire. Could PSG or Juventus have enough money to offer them both contracts?

Something that I don’t see a lot of people talking about is, what if he decides to go back and play for a club in his home nation Argentina? Step up to the plate Boca Juniors. This club is consistently winning the Argentinian Primera Division and would be a good fit for him. However, the major drawback is that Messi would no longer have a chance to win the Champions League, which I’m sure he’d love to do one more time before he retires. Boca Juniors really don’t have the money to snag a player of Messi’s stature anyway, but it would be fitting to see him finish his career in his home country.

I’ll end it with this, the thing I want to see most. He could always change his mind and re-sign at Barcelona. Nothing’s official yet and he still does have some time to be persuaded into staying. Barca’s sporting director Ramon Planes sure thinks so.

“As we have said many times, we’re still thinking of Messi as a Barca player,” Planes said at the presentation of the club’s newest signee Francisco Trincao. “Barca have rebuilt themselves many times throughout history and have always bounced back stronger. Our idea is to rebuild around the best player in the world.”

This is a good mindset. I’ve already said it, Messi is the greatest player of all time, so yeah, Barcelona is going to do everything they can to see that he re-signs with the club. I think this is what a lot of people want to see. No one really wants Messi to leave Barcelona. I don’t really care where he goes as long as he’s happy, but if he’s not feeling that way right now at Barcelona then maybe it is time for a change.

No matter where he lands, (most likely Manchester City) it will still be entertaining to watch him play. Matter of fact, we are privileged to watch Messi play, and if he makes his way over to the MLS where he will eventually retire, I can’t really complain about that.