Lionel Messi is undisputedly the best player in the world, and some are suggesting that he may even be the best player who has ever lived - at the age of 26.

While such claims may be a little premature, Messi has repeatedly proven his excellence both on the field and with his humble attitude. Of course it's not easy to score 80 goals in a season, but maintaining a shred of humility through this is a task at which many footballers fail.

That said, one has to wonder: is it time that Barcelona let Lionel Messi go?

One news source claims that four different clubs have made bids in excess of £100m for the Argentine superstar. So, having brought in the only suitable replacement in the form on one Neymar Jr, could it be time to let their little legend go?

I don't need to ramble on and on about Messi's greatness: it's well documented. However, Neymar has the potential to do that and more. He's already been touted by Pele as the best player in the world. Although some Brazilian bias may influence that claim, it's quite likely that in a couple of years that might be true.

Neymar is a revelation. His performances in the FIFA Confederations Cup speak for themselves. At 21 years of age, he was the leader of the team and scored in pretty much every game he played. His influence didn't end there, however, as he set up numerous others and shredded the confidence of defenders from every country.

In Neymar, Barca have purchased the finished product and he is so similar to Messi. Why keep two around? If Barca were to sell Messi, they would have big - and I mean really big - money to finance moves for top talent.

Barca desperately need a new centre-back or two and could do with another midfielder. Messi would free up the funds to assume that Barcelona aren't just the top team during his reign but after as well.

Another potential problem that may arise is the similarity in the playing styles of both Messi and Neymar. Both have a tendency to try to single-handedly dominate games and showcase immense dribbling ability. However, there is a very real possibility that this combination may prove to by mutually detrimental.

Messi is used to being top dog at Barca and getting everything his way. He collects the goals and the assists and is given the ball at will to roam the field. Introducing Neymar would also introduce complications as to which positions they will occupy.

Neymar has been touted as a winger but clearly has a tendency to lean towards the centre in games. He and Messi may just end up stepping on each others' feet.

This would present a situation similar to Barca's signings of David Villa and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who were both eventually pushed out by the little giant.

Barca needed an out-and-out left winger who would hug the flank and create chances for Messi. Instead they bought the only player on the planet with the ability to replace Messi like-for-like.

At this point, Barca would probably get more out of selling Messi and letting Neymar thrive than keeping both around. Maybe Johan Cryuff was right after all.


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